Background: Adolescent smoking is a public health concern in China. Although the family is an important social influence in China, few associations among family characteristics and adolescent smoking have been examined using Chinese samples.
Methods: Survey data on psychosocial variables and smoking were collected from a sample of 3629 7th grade adolescents (46% female; 54% male; mean age 12.7 years) in Wuhan, China. For adolescents, past 30-day smoking, family relationships, parents' negative sanctioning of smoking, parents' agreement with smoking, and parents' smoking behaviors are assessed. To account for the clustered data structure, hierarchical logistic regression analyses controlling for demographics (urbanization, age) examined the independent and multivariate effects of family characteristics for each gender.
Results: Girls are less likely than boys to report smoking and are more likely to report positive family relationships, and having parents with negative attitudes toward them smoking. Positive family relationships and age were strongly associated with smoking for both genders. No significant differences exist by gender.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the quality of family relationships are important for adolescent female and male smoking in China.