Motivating Latino Smokers to Quit

Does Type of Social Support Matter?

Quitting is hard for anyone who smokes but for Latinos who have a slightly higher rate of depressive symptoms, it may be even harder. Social supports, however, do help smokers quit.

In a study of smoking treatment-seeking female smokers of all racial/ethnic groups, researchers examined the effects of three types of social supports and depressed mood on Latino smokers’ likelihood of quitting smoking. The three measures used to assess social support were: (1) presence of a partner; (2) perceived general social support; and (3) perceived partner support. Depressed mood was measured using a standardized scale. Participants who were visited at home for care of their children’s asthma were randomly assigned to one of two smoking-cessation counseling treatments.

Key Findings:

  • Partner status and positive support from a partner were associated with smoking cessation—30 percent of those with a partner quit smoking versus 14.3 percent of those without.
  • Partner status buffered the effect of depressed mood on smoking cessation among those without a partner, quit rates were higher among those not depressed.

The researchers concluded: “Simply having a partner, regardless of the type of partner support (positive or negative) buffers the effect of depressed mood on smoking cessation.”