The role of social support on the effects of stress and depression on African American tobacco and alcohol use

Andrew Boateng-Poku, Chelsie E. Benca-Bachman, Dalora D. Najera, Keith E. Whitfield, Janiece L. Taylor, Roland J. Thorpe, Rohan H.C. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: The current study explored whether social support (SS) from family and peers, influences the relationship between depressed mood (DM) and substance use (SU). We hypothesized that SS would have a protective effect on DM, and moderate the association between DM and SU. Participants and Methods: Analyses focused on 703 individuals from the Carolina African American Twin Study on Aging (mean age = 49.78 years, STD = 14.52; 51% female). Participants reported on past year frequency of cigarettes and alcohol consumption, depressed mood, and stressful life events. Social support (SS) was assessed on two domains (i.e., emotional and instrumental), as well as for perceived quality and quantity of each type. Hypotheses were tested using ordinal logistic regression in Mplus while controlling for socioeconomic status, age, and gender. Results: Quality of emotional support was negatively associated with drinking. Smoking, but not drinking was associated with depressed mood. While individuals with high levels of depressed mood received more support, receiving better quality emotional support was associated with fewer mood and stress symptoms. Individuals who reported receiving better quality emotional support typically smoked fewer cigarettes. Conclusion: Quantity of emotional support was associated with higher levels of negative emotionality, whereas the opposite was found for quality of emotional support. Emotional support may indirectly influence smoking via depressed mood. Effecting the perceived quality of support appears to be the mechanism by which emotional support helps to reduce smoking in adult African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107926
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • African American
  • Alcohol
  • Depressed mood
  • Social support
  • Stress
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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