Influence of perceived parent and peer endorsement on adolescent smoking intentions: parents have more say, but their influence wanes as kids get older

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 3;9(7):e101275. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101275. eCollection 2014.


Purpose: The aim of the study is to investigate how adolescents' perception of parents' and peers' smoking approval influences adolescent smoking intention, and how age affects this influence in a Swiss sample of adolescents. To know the influence of age can help to develop specific prevention programs tailored to the age groups needs.

Method: in a cross sectional survey, students aged between 11 and 14 from public and private middle schools in the Italian region of Switzerland (Ticino) answered questions on smoking habits, parents' and peers' approval and intention to smoke.

Results: peers' and parents' approval significantly influence students' smoking intention, and students' age significantly moderates this relation: the effect of parents' approval decreases for older adolescents, while the effect of peers' approval increases with age. No difference is found between girls and boys, while non-Swiss are more likely to smoke than Swiss students.

Conclusions: as literature suggests, results evidence the role parents play during early adolescence. Prevention programs targeting parent-child communication in early adolescence for preventing children's tobacco consumption are strongly supported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parenting
  • Parents*
  • Peer Group*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Students / psychology

Grants and funding

The project has been funded by the Università della Svizzera Italiana and the Association of Non-Smokers in the Italian region of Switzerland. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.