Acculturation Matters: Risk Perceptions of Smoking among Bosnian Refugees Living in the United States


The relationship between acculturation and health behavior change is complex. Little research has focused on acculturation and perceptions of health-related risks. This study investigated acculturation and risk perceptions of heart attack and lung cancer among a group of refugees. Questionnaires were distributed to a sample of Bosnian refugees living in the United States (= 55). Results indicated that smokers thought they were less at risk than other smokers and no more at risk than non-smokers, whereas non-smokers did not think they were less at risk than other non-smokers. Greater acculturation was associated with greater perception of smokers’ risk of heart attack and lung cancer. Smoking cessation interventions with refugees should incorporate culturally appropriate risk information.

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We would like to thank Peter Harris, Laurel Peterson, and Jostein Rise for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Marie Helweg-Larsen.

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Helweg-Larsen, M., Stancioff, L.M. Acculturation Matters: Risk Perceptions of Smoking among Bosnian Refugees Living in the United States. J Immigrant Minority Health 10, 423–428 (2008).

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  • Risk perception
  • Smoking
  • Refugees
  • Acculturation