We examined two potentially interacting, connected pathways by which parental supportiveness during early adolescence (ages 1-13) may come to be associated with later African American young adult smoking. The first pathway is between parental supportiveness and young adult stress (age 19), with stress, in turn, predicting increased smoking at age 20. The second pathway is between supportive parenting and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) gene methylation (i.e., TNFm), a proinflammatory epitype, with low levels indicating greater inflammatory potential and forecasting increased risk for smoking in response to young adult stress. In a sample of 382 African American youth residing in rural Georgia, followed from early adolescence (age 10-11) to young adulthood (age 20), supportive parenting indirectly predicted smoking via associations with young adult stress, IE = -0.071, 95% confidence interval [-0.132, -0.010]. In addition, supportive parenting was associated with TNFm measured at age 20 (r =.177, p =.001). Further, lower TNFm was associated with a significantly steeper slope (b = 0.583, p =.003) of increased smoking in response to young adult stress compared to those with higher TNFm (b = 0.155, p =.291), indicating an indirect, amplifying role for supportive parenting via TNFm. The results suggest that supportive parenting in early adolescence may play a role in understanding the emergence of smoking in young adulthood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health