A Second Reporter Matters

Agreement Between Parents' and Children's Reports of Smoking Bans in Families


      Home and car smoking bans implemented by caregivers are important approaches to reducing children's secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure and attendant health risks. Such private smoking bans are usually informal and are subject to individuals' interpretation, observation, and recall. Relying on a single reporter may lead to misclassification of bans in families.


      To determine (1) proportion of families with discordant reports of bans; (2) association between parent–child report agreement and SHS exposure; and (3) whether including a second reporter of bans improves prediction of child SHS exposure.


      In each of 386 participating families a preteen and a parent reported separately on their home and car smoking bans, and agreement was determined. ANOVA, chi-square, and multiple linear regression were used to determine relationships between SHS exposure (measured by urine cotinine and reported exposure) and home/car smoking bans reported by preteens and parents.


      In 19% of families, reports disagreed for home smoking bans; 30%, for car smoking bans. Families who agreed on the presence of a ban had the lowest exposure, families who agreed on the absence of a ban had the highest exposure, and intermediate exposure for those who disagreed. Parent and child reports of bans each explained significant, unique variance in child SHS exposure.


      Due to relatively high prevalence of discordant reporting, a more accurate classification of home/car smoking bans may result from including multiple reporters.
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