Peer and Family Smoking

Pierce, Choi, Gilpin, Farkas, & Berry (1998)

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Brief Description: This is a 5-item index that assesses the smoking status of immediate family members and best friends. It was developed after an analysis of much more detailed questions on exposure to smoking suggested that the questions could be simplified
Target Population: Adolescents, aged 12 to 17
Administrative Issues: This instrument can be administered over the phone.
Scoring Information:

The indices are scored dichotomously as "no exposure" versus "exposure".

No family exposure to smokers: negative response to both family items
(items 1 and 3).
No exposure to friend smoking: response = "00" to both friend items
(items 4 and 5).

Psychometrics: This is an index, not a scale. The detailed analysis of the relationship of family and peer smoking on the probability that a never smoker would be susceptible to smoking is presented in Chapter 7 of the report "Tobacco Use in California: A focus on preventing uptake in adolescents". This can be accessed on Friend and family smoking were not strong predictors of which never smokers progressed toward smoking in California in the 1990s. Later analyses have used a binary version of this measure.
Clinical Utility of Instrument: A short set of questions to identify major social influences on smoking behavior among adolescents
Research Applicability: These measures provide a brief index of current exposure to smokers in an adolescent's family/social network.
Copyright, Cost, and Source Issues: This measure is freely available in the public domain. See
Source Reference: Pierce, J. P., Choi, W. S., Gilpin, E. A., Farkas, A. J., & Berry, C. C. (1998). Tobacco industry promotion of cigarettes and adolescent smoking. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279, 511-515.
Supporting References: Pierce JP, Distefan JM, Jackson C, White MM, Gilpin EA. Does tobacco marketing undermine the influence of recommended parenting in discouraging adolescents from smoking? American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2002;23:73-81.
Author: John P. Pierce, Ph.D.
Contact Information: Cancer Prevention and Control Program
Cancer Center
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0645
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Last Updated
September 24, 2020