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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: The media and prevention campaigns are encouraging parents to talk with their children about smoking. However, findings on the effect of smoking-specific communication are ambiguous. The present longitudinal study examined the reciprocal effect of frequency of smoking-specific communication between parents and adolescents, and older and younger adolescent's smoking behavior.
Methods: Participants were 428 Dutch families (mothers, fathers and two adolescents aged 13 to 17 years). Participants were followed for three years, with one-year interval between each wave. During home visits by the interviewers, each family member filled in the questionnaire individually and separately. We measured frequency and quality of smoking-specific communication, overall quality of parent-adolescent relationship, parents' smoking behavior, and adolescents' smoking behavior. We investigated the older and younger adolescent within a family separately.
Results: The results indicated that smoking-specific communication was neither significantly related to older and younger adolescents' smoking initiation, nor related to older adolescent's smoking. Some findings suggested that frequency of smoking-specific communication increased the likelihood to smoke for younger adolescents. Besides, older and younger adolescents' smoking increased the likelihood that parents talked more frequently with their adolescents one year later. Quality of smoking-specific communication, quality of the parent-adolescent relationship and parental smoking behavior did not moderate the association between frequency of communication and adolescents' smoking. In conclusion, encouraging parents to talk more frequently with their adolescents may do more harm than good.