Skip Navigation
National Cancer Institute
Cancer Control & Population Sciences Home - NCI's Bridge to Public Health Research, Practice and Policy

Cancer Control Research

Burkhalter, John E.


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): One of Healthy People 2010's (USDHHS, 2000) overarching health priorities includes eliminating health disparities among segments of the population, including disparities related to sexual orientation. Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons comprise a sexual orientation and gender identity minority known collectively as the LGBT community, or LGBT persons. Evidence strongly suggests that smoking prevalence is greater among lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons when compared to the general population. Smoking prevalence estimates are not available for transgender persons, but they share characteristics associated with higher smoking prevalence in the general population--lower socioeconomic status, high rates of depression, and high prevalence of substance abuse. High rates of smoking and the concentration of other health behaviors associated with greater cancer risk suggest that LGBT persons are at increased risk for certain cancers. The role of social-cognitive variables in understanding smoking, motivation to quit, and cessation is well-described for the general population and many special populations, but similar data are lacking for LGBT persons. Given the higher prevalence of smoking and the stigmatized social status of LGBT persons, it is likely that unique social-cognitive and contextual factors exist that are important in understanding their motivation to quit smoking and smoking patterns. Guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior and using qualitative interview and quantitative methodologies, this study will explore attitudes about quitting smoking, subjective norms (perceived social norms) for quitting, perceived behavioral control (self-efficacy) regarding quitting, and behavioral intention to quit among LGBT persons. In addition to theory-driven constructs, potentially important, LGBT-culture specific variables will be examined for their additive contribution to the variance in intention to quit smoking. Further, we will determine LGBT persons' preferences for delivery, format and provider characteristics in designing future smoking cessation interventions. If effective smoking cessation interventions are to be developed to address high smoking rates in the LGBT community, then culturally specific smoking cessation interventions should be informed by theory-driven research that supports targeting LGBT-specific factors, as well as those of general import, that are amenable to change. This application represents the beginning step toward developing a cancer control and prevention research program targeted to the LGBT community that has as its starting point a focus on tobacco control and prevention.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health
National Cancer Institute U.S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute