Measuring secondhand smoke exposure in babies: the reliability and validity of mother reports in a sample of low-income families

Health Psychol. 2000 May;19(3):232-41. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.19.3.232.


The reliability and validity of mother's reports of their infants' exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) were examined in an ethnically diverse sample of low-income, low-education families (N = 141 mothers). At baseline and posttest, smoking mothers reported about their infants' SHS exposure at different locations and by different sources during the previous week. Findings show that mothers can give reliable accounts of the degree to which they contribute to their babies' SHS exposure. Mothers are able to differentiate between their own smoking behavior and the extent to which they expose their infants. Consistent with the overall exposure pattern, exposure caused by the mother and exposure occurring at home showed the strongest associations with biological and environmental measures. These findings suggest that smoking mothers can provide reliable and valid reports of the degree to which their infants are exposed to SHS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cotinine / urine
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Welfare*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis*
  • Truth Disclosure*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cotinine