Social normative beliefs regarding cigarette smoking in Hungarian adolescents


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Abstract

Background:Hungary will continue to experience a high burden of disease and death from lung cancer and other tobacco-induced disease unless there is a significant reduction in youth smoking. Social factors have been found to be among the most important determinants of adolescent smoking, yet few studies have investigated social normative beliefs in Hungarian youth. The purpose of the current study was to investigate three measures of smoking normative beliefs thought to influence adolescent smoking: perceived prevalence of smoking; perceived popularity of smoking among successful/elite elements of society; and perceived disapproval by friends and family.Methods:A cross-sectional school-based survey of eighth grade (n = 258) and 12th grade (n = 288) students in Mako, Hungary was conducted to assess social normative beliefs about smoking, current smoking, ever smoking, and susceptibility to smoking. The association of the normative beliefs with the smoking behavior variables was examined through logistic regression analysis, and the underlying factor structure of the normative belief items in the current sample was determined through factor analysis.Results:The percent of boys reporting current smoking was 40.5% in 12th grade and 27.0% in eighth grade. Among girls, the percent was 44.0% of 12th graders and 29.1% of eighth graders. Parent/peer disapproval was the most consistently associated normative belief with smoking behavior and susceptibility to smoking across both samples.Conclusions:Youth smoking prevention programs should consider assessing and taking into account normative beliefs and develop strategies that provide accurate information about the actual prevalence of smoking, the types of individuals who smoke, and approval/disapproval of smoking by parents and peers.

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