Purpose: To examine developmental patterns and family influences on the risk of daily smoking initiation from adolescence to young adulthood.
Method: A gender-balanced, ethnically diverse urban sample of 808 children aged 10-11 years was surveyed in 1985 and followed prospectively to age 21 in 1996. Discrete-time survival analysis was used to assess the hazard of initiation of daily smoking during this time period, as well as the effects of family factors on the risk of daily smoking initiation.
Results: Less parental smoking, more strict family monitoring and rules, and stronger family bonding predicted a significantly lower risk of daily smoking initiation controlling for socio-demographic background. The decline in the impact of family bonding over time was marginally significant; however, none of the interactions between family factors and time were significant, indicating generally consistent family influences on daily smoking from age 10 to 21.
Conclusions: The present findings indicate that parent smoking contributes to the onset of daily smoking in their teenagers even if parents practice good family management, hold norms against teen tobacco use, and do not involve their children in their own tobacco use. Smoking prevention programs should include components focused on parents of adolescents. To reduce risks for daily smoking among adolescents, it is important to encourage parents to stop or reduce their own smoking. In addition, these data indicate that parents can reduce their children's risk of daily smoking initiation by reducing family conflict, by maintaining strong bonds with their children, by setting clear rules, and by closely monitoring their children's behaviors.