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Nicotine Tob Res. 2010 Mar;12(3):191-7. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntp192. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

Communication about smoking between depressed adolescents and their parents.

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  • 1Center for Family Intervention Science, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3535 Market Street, Suite 1230, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Better understanding of effective parent-adolescent communication regarding tobacco use could inform smoking cessation intervention.


Semistructured interviews related to communication about smoking were conducted with 15 depressed adolescent smokers and their parents, primarily from urban areas. This study, conducted in 2006-2008, was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Interview transcripts (N = 30) were coded in QSR N6.


Quality of communication, rather than content, seemed to determine whether parental communication was effective. Parents reactivity to, or avoidance of, adolescent smoking presented a barrier to effective communication. In this sample, parents and adolescents were more concerned about problems, such as depression, than smoking.


Involving parents in adolescent smoking cessation programs may be promising. Parental involvement may include teaching parent-child communication skills, building stronger relational bonds, or helping parents quit simultaneously. Further research is needed to explore whether coupling smoking cessation with depression treatment increases parent and adolescent treatment engagement and effectiveness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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