Impact of maternal communication about skin, cervical, and lung cancer prevention on adolescent prevention behaviors

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Jul;49(1):93-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.11.247. Epub 2011 Jan 15.


Purpose: To explore whether maternal communication about behaviors that prevent skin, cervical, and lung cancer is associated with adolescent cancer prevention behaviors.

Methods: The study sample consisted of 10,409 girls and boys (14-21 years) who participated in a longitudinal survey study of U.S. adolescents. The independent variables were adolescent report of how often mothers had spoken with them (never, once, occasionally, sometimes, often) about sunscreen use, Pap screening, and quitting smoking. Outcome variables included adolescent self-report of sunscreen use, Pap screening, and quitting smoking (among past-year smokers). We used multivariate logistic regression models to determine whether maternal communication in 2001 was associated independently with the three adolescent cancer prevention behaviors in 2001 and 2003.

Results: In adjusted logistic regression models, maternal communication about sunscreen use and Pap screening was positively associated with adolescent behaviors in 2001 and 2003, and maternal communication about quitting smoking was positively associated with adolescent behavior in 2001.

Conclusions: In a national sample, maternal communication encouraging sunscreen use, Pap screening, and quitting smoking was associated with the corresponding behaviors in their adolescent children. The findings suggest that intergenerational interventions could enhance adolescent practice of cancer prevention behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult