The associations of anticipated parental reactions with smoking initiation and progression in adolescents



Background and Objectives

The aim of this study was to examine whether anticipated parental reactions to smoking were related to smoking onset and progression during adolescence.


Data were used from the six-wave, 5-year longitudinal “Family and Health” project, in which N = 428 adolescents (M = 13.4, SD = .50; 52.3% girls) and their families participated.


Parental reactions, as anticipated by adolescents, included benign indifference, conflict engagement, disclosing disappointment, and positive problem-solving. Findings of discrete-time survival analyses indicated no direct association between anticipated reactions at baseline and smoking onset within 5 years. However, a significant interaction effect was found between parental smoking and anticipated parental disappointment. This finding indicates that adolescents of non-smoking parents, who expected reactions of annoyance and disappointment, were less at risk for initiating smoking than adolescents from smoking parents who expected such reactions. None of the anticipated parental reactions were significantly related to smoking progression, neither directly nor indirectly.

Conclusions and Scientific Significance

Findings from this study suggest that focusing on anticipated reactions to smoking is probably not the most promising endeavor for effective smoking prevention and intervention. (Am J Addict 2013;22:527–534)