Authoritative parenting, child competencies, and initiation of cigarette smoking

Health Educ Q. 1994 Spring;21(1):103-16. doi: 10.1177/109019819402100110.


School-based social influence programs to prevent adolescent smoking are having limited success in the long term. Intervening earlier in the process of smoking onset, during the childhood years, may be required to prevent adolescent smoking. Child socialization variables, specifically parenting behaviors and child competencies, may be important to understanding the earliest phase of smoking onset. This study tested hypotheses of association between authoritative parenting behaviors, enhanced child competencies, and relatively low rates of initiation of cigarette smoking. Analyzing cross-sectional survey data from 937 students in Grades 3 to 8, we found general support for the study hypotheses: Authoritative parenting was positively associated with child competencies; children's competency levels were inversely related to their rates of smoking intention, initiation, and experimentation; authoritative parenting was inversely related to rates of child smoking intention and behaviors; and authoritative parenting and parent smoking status had independent associations with child initiation of cigarette smoking. These results indicate that child socialization variables merit further investigation for their potential role in the development of early intervention programs for smoking prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Authoritarianism*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Personality Development
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Socialization*