Smoking at a Racial Intersection: The Association between Interracial Unionship and Smoking Behavior

Jenifer Bratter, Rice University
Mary E. Campbell, Texas A&M University
Jarron M. Saint Onge, University of Kansas

Does crossing racial boundaries through union-ship (either marriage or cohabitation) have any relationship with health behaviors? This paper examines racially-specific smoking profiles for those who marry across race/ethnicity categories. Using a pooled sample of 144,982 respondents from the National Health Interview Survey (2001-2011), we observe the likelihood of smoking (either currently or in the past) compared to never smoking for those in unions. Overall, those in interracial unions have a higher likelihood of smoking but this varies by the race/ethnic composition of the couple. Whites with Black partners smoke more often than their same-race peers, meanwhile Blacks, Latinos, and Asians with White partners have smoking behaviors that are in-between Whites and their respective minority groups. These patterns reveal the importance of local racial contexts for examining health behaviors, as those contexts where boundaries are blurred can produce significant differences in health behaviors.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Adult Health and Mortality