The Relationship between Having Smoking or Drinking Parents and the Occurrence of Smoking or Drinking in Their Adolescent Children

Article excerpt

Summary - A survey was conducted during the year 2004, on 702 high school students (response rate 78.5%). The aim of this study was to find a relationship between having smoking or drinking parents and the occurrence of hazardous/harmful smoking or drinking among their adolescent children. The questionnaire consisted of questions regarding age, smoking and drinking habits in students, smoking and drinking habits of the parents of the students and financial state of the family. Some questions were designed to be answered as either yes or no answers and some were designed to require the respondent to choose only one of a number of possible answers.

In order to investigate the effects of the mother's and the father's smoking and drinking habits on the habits of the students, two multiple regressions (stepwise) were run, firstly on the students' drinking habits and then on the students' smoking habits as dependent variables and then on the mothers' and fathers' drinking and smoking as independent variables.

The more parents smoke and/or drink, the more their sons or daughters are likely to smoke and/or drink as students. The mothers' smoking appears to exert a stronger influence than the fathers'. But the fathers' drinking seems to exert a stronger influence than the mothers'. Perceived family prosperity has no influence on drinking. Neither the parents' habits of smoking neither the habits of drinking influence the development of the other habit in their children.

Keywords: Smoking, Drinking, Adolescents, Parents

INTRODUCTION

The family is vital in providing optimal conditions for the growth and health of children. Love and affections are necessary for the psychological development of the child.1

Adolescence is a confusing period of a person's lifetime. Young people challenge authority, refuse parental control and adopt the behavior of their peers.2 Young people often use substances in order to help themselves face the challenges of growing up and this may lead to some problems in behavior, the development of substance abuse or even substance dependence.3

Alcohol misuse and smoking are major health problems among students in Croatia. Previous research in the ESPAD 2003 (European school survey project on alcohol and other drugs) study4 showed that 43% of Croatian boys and 40% of Croatian girls had smoked on more than 40 occasions during their life and one in every ten girls and one in every eight boys said that they had smoked every day since they were 13 years old. Twenty-four percent of girls and forty-five percent of boys had drunk alcohol more than 40 times in their life. One in every eight students of the first grade of high school and one in every five students of the second grade of high school had got drunk more than 20 times in their life.

Fatal influences of smoking and alcohol on human health are well documented in the adult Croatian population. In this population, about one third of the male population smokes regularly and 6.6% of the population smokes occasionally. More than 40% of males smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day. Seventy-four percent of subjects started smoking before they were 20 years old. 6.8% of the male population drinks wine more often than four times a week. Furthermore, these data probably largely underestimate the problem of alcohol consumption in the county, as alcoholics were unlikely to self-select themselves for this cross sectional study.5 Research for Europe shows that in almost every European country 50-80% of students smoked a cigarette at least once in their life. In Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greenland, Germany, Latvia and Russia, 40% of students smoked 40 or more times in their life. The lowest rates for smoking are in Turkey (13%), Malta (16%) and Portugal (18%). The percent of students who has drunk alcohol 40 times or more in their life is highest in Denmark, Austria, Czechoslovakia and US (43%-50%). Alcohol is most commonly drunk by boys. …