The role of parental engagement in the intergenerational transmission of smoking behavior and identity
Purpose: Prior research has found that the protective effect of parental engagement on adolescent smoking behaviors may be weaker if parents smoke. We examine parental influence on adolescent smoking using a social learning theory framework. We hypothesize that adolescents are more likely to mimic parental smoking behavior if they perceive parents as being more engaged and if the parent is the same gender of the adolescent.Methods: Hypotheses were tested using a diverse sample of 6,998 adolescents who were followed for seven waves ( grades 6-12). Adolescent gender, time-stable and time-varying effects of parental engagement, adolescent perceptions of parental smoking, and interactions among the effects of these variables are tested using multilevel mediation models. We use a traditional measure of past 3-month adolescent smoking and a novel measure of smoking identity.Results: Parental smoking was associated with a developmental increase in adolescent smoking and time-stable and time-varying parental engagement protected against adolescent smoking, whereas maternal engagement and smoking exerted independent and opposite effects with no moderation and time-stable paternal engagement moderated the effects of perceived paternal smoking on adolescent smoking outcomes. Parental smoking was more strongly associated with adolescent smoking outcomes when adolescent gender was congruent with parent gender.Conclusions: Even when parents smoke, parental engagement confers protection. Protective effects of engagement may be enhanced among parents who smoke through increased antismoking communication, particularly as adolescents reach the legal smoking age. (C) 2016 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.