Congress logo
Back to Conference page

The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Do Gay and Lesbian Cigarette Smokers Need Tailored Cessation Programs?

Catherine J. Massey, PhD1, Tracy Morris, PhD2, and Abby Friedman2. (1) Psychology, Slippery Rock University, 226 Vincent Science Hall, Slippery Rock, PA 16057, (2) Psychology, West Virginia University, 53 Campus Drive, 1124 Life Sciences Building, Morgantown, WV 26506

Objective: Research suggests that gay men and lesbians have a high rate of tobacco use because of psychosocial factors related to their sexual minority status. This study examined the importance of tailored cessation programming for gay men and lesbians by identifying psychosocial variables related to cigarette smoking in this population.

Methods: Participants were 71 gay males (38 smokers, 33 nonsmokers), 72 lesbians (40 smokers, 32 nonsmokers), 80 heterosexual males (37 smokers, 43 nonsmokers), and 81 heterosexual females (41 smokers, 40 nonsmokers) with a mean age of 20.17 years. Participants completed questionnaires to assess coping styles, sex roles, perceived stress, body image, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and social support.

Results: Gay male smokers scored significantly higher than one or more male groups (gay nonsmokers, heterosexual smokers or nonsmokers) for femininity, avoidance coping, appearance orientation, weight preoccupation, perceived stress, anxiety and depression, and significantly lower for self-esteem, ps < .01. Lesbian smokers scored significantly higher than one or more female groups (lesbian nonsmokers, heterosexual smokers or nonsmokers) for masculinity, avoidance coping, appearance evaluation and body satisfaction, and significantly lower for weight preoccupation, ps < .05. Internalized homophobia and victimization also were examined in the gay and lesbian sample. Smokers reported more fear of future victimization than nonsmokers. In addition, lesbian smokers reported a stronger identification with the lesbian community than nonsmokers.