Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death accounting for approximately 480,000 deaths every year (Jamal et al., 2015). Across the socioeconomic status gradient smoking prevalence differs greatly, with those of lower socioeconomic status smoking at much higher rates. Within the literature relationships have been identified between socioeconomic status, stress variables, and smoking. However, little research has explored the possibility of stress variables mediating the relationship between socioeconomic status and smoking. The goal of the current study was to identify stress variables linking socioeconomic status and smoking in order to identify variables to address in cessation programs for individuals across the socioeconomic status gradient. Stress variables examined as potential mediators between socioeconomic status and smoking included financial strain, discrimination, urban life stress, perceived stress, depression, and neighborhood perceptions. Participants (N = 238) were primarily female (67.6%) and African American (51.7%) adults from the Dallas metropolitan area. A majority of the sample reported being nonsmokers (n = 164). Participants who identified as being smokers at baseline (n = 74) reported smoking 9.96 (SD = 10.79) cigarettes per a day. Analyses revealed that financial strain and perceived neighborhood disorder were the only variables found to significantly mediate the relationship between socioeconomic status and cigarettes smoked per week. Additionally, financial strain was also found to significantly mediate the relationship between socioeconomic status and smoking status. Cessation programs targeting lower socioeconomic status groups should look to include some component to reduce financial strain and address perceived neighborhood disorder as these variables may act as barriers to successful cessation for this population.



Committee Chair

Copeland, Amy



Included in

Psychology Commons