The Effect of Minority Stress Processes on Stage of Change and Nicotine Dependence Level for Sexual and Gender Minority Smokers in the Deep South

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LGBT Health


Purpose: Minority stress has been posited as a cause for sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals to smoke as a coping mechanism. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the relationship between minority stress processes and nicotine dependence level and stage of change for SGM smokers living in the Deep South region of the United States. Methods: A one-time, cross-sectional online survey was administered to SGM smokers living in the Deep South. Survey measurements included demographics, minority stress processes (prejudice events, perceived stigma, and internalized queerphobia), and smoking cessation outcomes (nicotine dependence level and stage of change). Multivariable linear regression was used to assess the effect of each minority stress process on smoking outcomes, after adjusting for demographics and stratifying by gender and sexual identity. Results: Across all participants (n = 1296), lower levels of perceived stigma were significantly associated with further stage of change. Greater levels of internalized queerphobia were significantly associated with greater nicotine dependence level. After stratifying by gender and sexual identity, these significant associations were only maintained in cisgender males and gay individuals. An additional significant association between lower prejudice events and further stage of change for smoking cessation was found only for individuals whose sexual identity was labeled as “other.” Conclusion: Addressing minority stress in smoking cessation and prevention programs has the potential to decrease nicotine dependence and further stage of change.

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