Social Status and Risky Health Behaviors from Adolescence to Adulthood

Camillia Lui, University of California, Los Angeles

The evolving role of social status from adolescence to adulthood makes it difficult to ascertain the relationship between social status and risky health behaviors of smoking and alcohol use. Previous literature shows a divergent pattern where smoking is negatively associated and heavy episodic drinking is positively associated with social status. I used latent class analysis to conceptualize social status across adolescence into adulthood using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Latent classes of social status (by economic, human and social capitals) represent a cumulative advantage at one end of the spectrum and cumulative disadvantage at the other. There is a distinct pattern of lower social status and higher smoking prevalence. In contrast, the downwardly mobile and cumulative advantage classes have higher heavy episodic drinking prevalence. Identifying distinct social status patterns from adolescence into adulthood provides a nuanced approach for better understanding smoking and alcohol behaviors.

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Presented in Poster Session 7