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Family Factors and Knowledge

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This study examined the family context for knowledge, attitudes and efforts regarding exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (i.e. passive smoking) among Malaysian medical students. Women, non-smokers, and never smokers scored better on all three scales. Students whose brothers did not smoke scored better on knowledge and attitude scales. Although knowledge, attitudes and effort scores were not higher among those whose friends did not smoke, there were consistent correlations between those scores and friends' pressures not to smoke, particularly for men and non-smokers. Friends' pressures not to smoke were correlated only with attitude scores among smokers (the more the pressure from friends, the better the attitude about protecting others from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.) Women, men and non-smokers received consistent pressures from others not to smoke. That is, for these three groups, where a family member or friend admonished the student not to smoke, there was also likely to be pressure from others. This was not the case for smokers. There was a consistent pattern of correlations between knowledge, attitudes and efforts for men, women and non-smokers, but there was a link only between attitudes and efforts among smokers. So even among these who smoked, pro-health attitudes were linked with pro-health efforts. Of special interest were the relationships between the family context and the extent to which medical students felt a commitment to inform patients about the hazards of environmental cigarette smoke. Never smokers and those whose brothers did not smoke had better scores on the patient responsibility to inform variable. Scores on this variable were correlated with friends' but not other family members' pressures not to smoke. While physician responsibility to inform variable was related to scores on knowledge, attitudes and efforts for the general sample, and for men, women and non-smokers, this was not true for smokers. Here physician responsibility was related only to knowledge.


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Affiliations: 1: Department of Human Services and Professional Leadership, College of Education and Human Services, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh WI 5490108666; 2: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; 3: Michigan State University


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