Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Laura Dixon

Relational Format



Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have gained popularity among U.S. adults with rates of use significantly increasing over the past decade. As such, the current literature has begun to explore factors associated with e-cigarette use in significantly affected populations. Anxiety sensitivity (AS), the fear of the sensations associated with the experience of anxiety, is a known transdiagnostic risk factor for tobacco use. Additionally, higher AS has been shown to be associated with higher levels of e-cigarette use, greater perceived benefits of use, greater positive outcome expectancies, greater perceived risks of use, more quit attempts, and more difficulty quitting. Further, preliminary research focusing on differences in AS across racial and ethnic groups suggest that racial/ethnic minorities may exhibit higher levels of AS than their white counterparts. To this end, the present study examined race/ethnic background and AS in relation to e-cigarette use. First, e-cigarette use was characterized in relation to race/ethnicity and AS. Second, the hypothesis that racial/ethnic minorities would exhibit higher rates of e-cigarette use, e-cigarette dependence, and anxiety sensitivity compared to their White counterparts was investigated. Third, anxiety sensitivity was predicted to mediate the relation between racial/ethnic minorities and e-cigarette dependence. The sample consisted of 380 (47.6% female; Mage = 35.0 years) U.S. adults from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Participants included adults from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds (67.6% White, 11.6% Black; 7.4% Asian; 6.8% bi- or multi-racial; 4.2% Latinx; 2.4% Native American/Alaskan Native) who reported past 6-month e-cigarette use. Findings contribute to greater understanding of the associations of race/ethnicity and anxiety sensitivity in adult e-cigarette users; however, additional research is needed to understand patterns of e-cigarette use in relation to racial/ethnic background.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Available for download on Friday, April 26, 2024