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Factors associated with mothers’ protection of their children from environmental tobacco smoke Temple, Beverley A.

Abstract

Children’s exposure to tobacco smoke is known to have adverse health effects, yet 200,000 Canadian children are still being exposed to tobacco smoke in their homes every day. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted to identify factors associated with whether mothers/primary care givers provide a smoke free environment for their children and the stage the mothers/primary care givers were in, in relation to their decision to adopt the precaution of ensuring people do not smoke around their children. Data were collected from 571 surveys sent home with kindergarten children in two prairie city school divisions. Mothers or primary care givers completed the survey. In the bivariate analysis, significant factors associated with providing a smoke free environment included education of the mother, number of friends and family who smoke, living with a partner, being a stay at home mother and being a nonsmoker. The strongest predictor in the multivariate logistic regression was the mother’s/primary care giver’s self-efficacy related to providing a smoke free environment. When mothers/primary care givers had high self-efficacy scores they were more likely to provide a smoke free environment, regardless of smoking status. One surprising finding was that when other variables were controlled for, having a higher education was less likely to be associated with always providing a smoke free environment. Being in an advanced stage of the precaution adoption process, "deciding to always provide a smoke free environment," was least likely when mothers/primary care givers had more friends and family who smoke, a lower self-efficacy, and a lower knowledge level of the effects of environmental tobacco smoke. The findings from this study expand our understanding of factors associated with mothers/primary care givers who do not always provide a smoke free environment for their children. Most importantly, modifiable factors are associated with the decision-making process and the action of providing a smoke free environment.

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