Cigarette smoking, mental health and social support: data from Northwestern First Nation

Mark Daniel, Margaret D. Cargo, Julie Lifshay, Lawrence W. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The prevalence of smoking is high in many Aboriginal Canadian communities; rates of 50% are not uncommon. Aboriginal Canadians suffer a severe burden of smoking-related disease. Research in other populations has linked depression and smoking. It is not known whether mental health or affective measures are related to smoking for any of Canada's First Nations, and this study sought to answer this question. Understanding relations between affect and smoking behaviour is requisite to mounting anti-smoking interventions. Methods: Smoking status and psychosocial measures including depression, mastery, affect balance and social support were obtained in a community-based chronic disease survey for a rural interior Salishan First Nation in British Columbia (Plateau area). Persons surveyed were on-reserve residents (n=187), overweight (body mass index ≥25 kg/m2), with mean age of 44.1 years (standard deviation 15.0). Results: The prevalence of smoking was 48.1%. Adjusted for age, sex and body mass index, smokers relative to nonsmokers had higher (p<0.010) depression (mean 21.3 [CI 95%, 19.1-23.4] vs. 16.1 [14.1-18.0]) and negative affect (18.6 [14.9-22.3] vs. 11.0 [7.6-14.4]), and lower mastery (36.4 [35.5-37.3] vs. 38.1 [37.2-38.9]). A positive relationship between mastery and social support was greater for nonsmokers (p=0.046). Conclusion: Depression and negative affect are associated with smoking among overweight persons in a rural First Nation in British Columbia. Furthermore, smoking is inversely related to mastery, and this relation varies with social support. Longitudinal study is required to determine whether smoking influences mental health and mastery, or the reverse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


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