Preventing smoking behaviors in adolescents: perceptions of parent-child communication about tobacco use in Ticino.
The increase of young smokers in European countries has become a serious problem. Different approaches had been developed to face this issue: public campaigns and school-based interventions just to name a few. To address this problem, a new approach based on parent-child communication has been developed in the literature (Ramos, Jaccard & Dittus 2010). Parents are viewed as change agents who are valuable sources of information and advice to shape their children’s behaviors. To increase parent-child communication level is a good way to either prevent or reduce tobacco consumption among adolescents. The literature suggest that parent-child communication is a “protective factor” to prevent adolescents’ risk behaviors (Dittus, et al. 1999; 2000; Litrownik et al. 2000; Whitaker & Miller 2000) and that parents influence their children especially with regards to health issues (Steinberg 2001).Against this background, we conducted an empirical study to evaluate parent-child communication in the field of tobacco consumption. In collaboration with the Swiss non Smoking Association (ASN) we collected data via self-administered questionnaires among a random sample of 11 to 16 year-old students from all middle schools in Ticino (N= 5’560). In our paper, we will first present results concerning the adolescents’ perception of communication quality with their parents, the relationship satisfaction and the trustworthiness (Ramos, Jaccard, et al. 2006). Secondly, data regarding adolescents’ perception of the peer group relation will be analyzed based on the theoretical framework of Fishbein & Triandis’s expectancy and social norms model (2001). Finally, the results of this study will be discussed in the perspective of a culture specific parent-based intervention model that give parents information and skills to help their children avoid the negative consequences of tobacco consumption.