Studies have suggested poorer health in the homosexual and bisexual groups compared to heterosexuals. Tobacco smoking, which is a health-related behavior associated with psychosocial stress, may be one explanation behind such health differences. Social capital, i.e. the generalized trust in other people and social participation/social networks which decreases the costs of social interaction, has been suggested to affect health through psychosocial pathways and through norms connected with health related behaviours, The aim of this study is to investigate the association between sexual orientation and daily tobacco smoking, taking social capital into account and analyzing the attenuation of the logit after the introduction of social participation, trust and their combination in the models.
In 2008 a cross-sectional public health survey was conducted in southern Sweden with a postal questionnaire with 28,198 participants aged 18-80 (55% participation rate). This study was restricted to 24,348 participants without internally missing values on all included variables. Associations between sexual orientation and tobacco smoking were analyzed with logistic regression analysis.
Overall, 11.9% of the men and 14.8% of the women were daily tobacco smokers. Higher and almost unaltered odds ratios of daily smoking compared to heterosexuals were observed for bisexual men and women, and for homosexual men throughout the analyses. The odds ratios of daily smoking among homosexual women were not significant. Only for the "other" sexual orientation group the odds ratios of daily smoking were reduced to not significant levels among both men and women, with a corresponding 54% attenuation of the logit in the "other" group among men and 31.5% among women after the inclusion of social participation and trust. In addition, only the "other" sexual orientation group had higher odds ratios of low participation than heterosexuals.
Bisexual men and women and homosexual men, but not homosexual women, are daily smokers to a higher extent than heterosexuals. Only for the "other" sexual orientation group the odds ratios of daily smoking were reduced to not significant levels after adjustments for covariates including trust and social participation.
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