Close friends', parents', and older siblings' smoking: Reevaluating their influence on children's smoking

Jonathan B. Bricker, Arthur V. Peterson, M. Robyn Andersen, Brian G. Leroux, Kumar Rajan, Irwin G. Sarason

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Abstract

A number of longitudinal studies have explored the role of friends', parents', and older siblings' smoking in children's smoking acquisition. A reasonable implication of this previous research is that intervention efforts could be beneficially directed toward countering the potential influence of friends' and possibly older siblings' smoking but not parents' smoking. However, methodological limitations of this previous research motivated our reevaluation of the role of friends', parents', and older siblings' smoking in children's smoking. Close friends' smoking status was assessed when children were in 5th grade, whereas parents' and older siblings' smoking status was assessed when children were in 3rd grade. The outcome, children's daily smoking status, was assessed in 12th grade. The setting was 40 Washington state school districts that participated in the long-term Hutchinson Smoking Prevention Project. Participants were the 4,576 families for whom close friends', parents', and older siblings' smoking status as well as children's smoking status were available. The probability that each close friend's smoking influenced the child to smoke daily was 9% (95% CI = 6%-12%), the probability that each parent's smoking influenced the child to smoke daily was 11% (95% CI = 9%-14%), and the probability that each older sibling's smoking influenced the child to smoke daily was 7% (95% CI = 1%-13%). These results suggest that close friends', parents', and siblings' smoking were similarly important influences on children's smoking. Family-focused interventions could be a valuable future direction of prevention research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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