Does the association between different dimension of social capital and adolescent smoking vary by socioeconomic status? a pooled cross-national analysis

Abstract

Objectives

To analyze how dimensions of social capital at the individual level are associated with adolescent smoking and whether associations differ by socioeconomic status.

Methods

Data were from the ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children’ study 2005/2006 including 6511 15-year-old adolescents from Flemish Belgium, Canada, Romania and England. Socioeconomic status was measured using the Family Affluence Scale (FAS). Social capital was indicated by friend-related social capital, participation in school and voluntary organizations, trust and reciprocity in family, neighborhood and school. We conducted pooled logistic regression models with interaction terms and tested for cross-national differences.

Results

Almost all dimensions of social capital were associated with a lower likelihood of smoking, except for friend-related social capital and school participation. The association of family-related social capital with smoking was significantly stronger for low FAS adolescents, whereas the association of vertical trust and reciprocity in school with smoking was significantly stronger for high FAS adolescents.

Conclusions

Social capital may act both as a protective and a risk factor for adolescent smoking. Achieving higher levels of family-related social capital might reduce socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent smoking.

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Acknowledgments

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study is an international survey conducted in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The current International Coordinator of the study is Candace Currie, CAHRU, University of St Andrews, Scotland. The data bank manager is Oddrun Samdal, University of Bergen, Norway. The data collection in each country was funded at the national level. We are grateful for the financial support offered by the various government ministries, research foundations and other funding bodies in the participating countries and regions. This work on this paper is part of the project ‘Tackling socio-economic inequalities in smoking (SILNE)’, which is funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, under the FP7-Health-2011 program, with grant agreement number 278273.

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Correspondence to Timo-Kolja Pförtner.

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Pförtner, T., De Clercq, B., Lenzi, M. et al. Does the association between different dimension of social capital and adolescent smoking vary by socioeconomic status? a pooled cross-national analysis. Int J Public Health 60, 901–910 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-015-0734-3

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Keywords

  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic inequalities
  • Adolescence
  • Social capital
  • Health Behaviour in School-aged Children