The impact of a parent-directed intervention on parent-child communication about tobacco and alcohol
Faculty of Communication Health and Sciences
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences
Introduction and Aim. Given the likelihood of engaging in the hazardous use of tobacco and alcohol increases during teenage years, pre-adolescence is a critical time to implement prevention programmes. While social factors other than those associated with parenting play a role in determining a child's risk for initiation of tobacco and alcohol use, parents can have a significant influence on their children's decisions about these issues. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of an in-home parent-directed drug education intervention on parent – child communication about tobacco and alcohol.
Design and Methods. A group randomised intervention trial was conducted in Perth, Western Australia. Schools were selected using stratified random sampling and randomised to three study conditions. A total of 1201 parents of 10–11-year-old children were recruited from 20 schools. The impact of a self-help intervention, comprised of five communication sheets containing information and activities designed to encourage parents to talk with their 10–11-year-old child about issues related to smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, was assessed. Results. Intervention-group parents were more likely to have spoken with their children, to have spoken more recently, to have engaged the child during the discussion and to have addressed the topics identified as being protective of children's involvement in tobacco and alcohol. In addition, the duration of talks about alcohol was longer than for parents in the comparison group.
Discussion and Conclusions. Parents of 10–11-year-old children appear to be receptive to participating in a home-based drug-related educational intervention and the parent-directed intervention seems to have enhanced parent – child tobacco- and alcohol-related communication.