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The association between paid maternal employment in childhood and adolescent smoking in BHPS study -conference paper abstract-


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Background: Maternal employment has been shown to influence health behaviors of children and adolescents such as overweight and obesity. The evidence related to adolescent smoking is limited as well as results using UK data. In this analysis, we assessed the influence of maternal employment in three periods of childhood on smoking of young people aged 16-21 years in British Household Panel Survey (BHPS).
Methods: BHPS is annual panel survey that has started in 1991 and completed its 17th wave in 2007. Response rate to wave 1 was 74%, and response between waves 2 and 17 varied between 84%-89%. There are 3,615 young individuals with available data on smoking at age 16-21 and maternal employment data from age 0-16 years. Covariates, such as gender, maternal age, maternal education and marital status, household income or maternal smoking were used as explanatory variables in logistic regression analysis in STATA 10.
Results: 29% of young adults aged 16-21 reported being current smoker. Approximately 40% of mothers worked at some point during age 0-4 (preschool age) of their child. This proportion increased to 59% at age 5-11 (primary school age) and 68% at age 12-16 (secondary school age). Children of mothers who were not employed were more likely to smoke (OR of smoking 1.18, 1.19 and 1.60 for 3 periods of exposure), although these effects were almost entirely explained when adjusted for maternal education and household income.
Conclusions: The associations between maternal employment in childhood and young adults’ smoking exist at least partly because of the generally higher social position and more stable family structure of households with working mothers. Maternal education and household income seem to be stronger social predictors of adolescent smoking than maternal employment status.

Published in

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine


17 (Suppl. 1): 15-15





Young People, Child Development, Labour Market, and Health



ISBM: 11th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, held August 4-7, 2010, Washington, D.C.; Online in A/S except current year; Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*


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