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Dealing with a latent danger: parents communicating with their school-age preadolescent children about smoking - a grounded theory study Open Access


Other title
grounded theory
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Small, Sandra
Supervisor and department
Neufeld, Anne (Faculty of Nursing)
Eastlick Kushner, Kaysi (Faculty of Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Ray, Lynne (Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta)
Wild, Cameron (School of Public Health, University of Alberta)
Johnson, Joy (School of Nursing, University of British Columbia)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Smoking in youth continues to be an important public health issue. Because adolescence is the key period for smoking initiation, prevention efforts need to take place before the adolescent years. Little is known about parental smoking prevention interventions. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to understand parental approach to the topic of smoking with school-age pre-adolescent children within the context of local policies and programs concerning smoking. The study was carried out using the grounded theory method of Strauss and Corbin (1998). The sample was purposive and consisted of 38 parents who had at least one child ranging in age from 5 to 12 years and 9 professionals whose work involved youths or smoking prevention. Data consisted of interviews with the parents and professionals and information obtained about smoking-specific public policies and programs that were relevant locally. The data from the parents were analyzed to construct a theory and from the professionals to generate themes. The findings represent a substantive theory that explains how parents communicated with their children about smoking. Parents perceived smoking to be a latent danger for their children. That meaning was shaped by their knowledge of the health effects of smoking and their knowledge of the nature of youth smoking. They did not want their children to smoke and to deter it they communicated with them by taking action in the form of having a no-smoking rule and verbally interacting on the topic. Their verbal interaction consisted of discussing smoking with their children by intentionally taking advantage of opportunities, telling their children about the health effects of smoking and their opposition to it by responding on the spur-of-the-moment if their attention was drawn to the issue by external cues, or acknowledging to their children the negative effects of smoking by responding only when their children brought it up. Their action and verbal interaction produced outcomes for them in the form of feelings and thoughts. The study has implications for further theory development and research. The understanding gained from the theory may be used in practice to guide interventions with parents about child smoking prevention.
License granted by Sandra Small ( on 2011-04-11T16:21:03Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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