Parental influences on tobacco use and likelihood of future use among sexual minority young adult men and women in the United States

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The American journal on addictions




BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Limited research has examined mechanisms, including parenting behaviors, contributing to tobacco use disparities among sexual minority young adults (SMYAs). METHODS: Participants were 644 young adult (ages 18-29; 36.5% racial/ethnic minority) women (N = 416; 44.7% bisexual, 7.2% lesbian, 48.1% heterosexual) and men (N = 288; 11.0% bisexual, 13.2% gay, 75.9% heterosexual). Bivariate analyses examined differences among sex-by-sexual identity subgroups in perceived parenting (psychological control, behavioral control, knowledge, autonomy support, warmth, communication), past 30-day cigarette, e-cigarette, and cigar use, and likelihood of future use. Multivariable regression examined associations of sexual identity subgroup and parenting behaviors to tobacco use outcomes among women and men. RESULTS: Bisexual (vs. heterosexual) women reported greater parental psychological control and less autonomy support, warmth, and communication. Bisexual (vs. heterosexual) women had greater odds of past 30-day cigarette and cigar use and greater likelihood of future cigarette and e-cigarette use, and parenting behaviors were associated with past 30-day cigarette (knowledge, warmth), e-cigarette (psychological control, autonomy support, warmth), and cigar use (behavioral control, warmth) and likelihood of future cigarette (psychological control, warmth) and e-cigarette use (autonomy support, communication). Gay (vs. heterosexual) men reported greater parental behavioral control, less knowledge, autonomy support, warmth, and communication. Sexual identity and parenting behaviors were largely not associated with tobacco use among men. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight the role of parenting behaviors as potential mechanisms contributing to tobacco use disparities among SMYA women. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Tobacco prevention/cessation programs should be tailored toward specific SMYA subgroups, combinations of parenting behaviors, and patterns of tobacco use.


Prevention and Community Health