Parental Beliefs and Perceptions of the Role of Middle Schools in Student Tobacco Use Prevention Activities in Juárez, Mexico
The purpose of this study was to examine parental beliefs and perceptions of the role that schools should play in implementing smoking prevention activities for their children in Juárez, Mexico. The parents were of sixth grade students from six randomly selected middle schools. Schools were classified by school setting and socioeconomic status. A total of 506 surveys were sent to the homes of the parents and 77% (N=390) responded. The majority of the parents (88%) were supportive of smoking prevention activities. Furthermore, mothers were significantly more likely than fathers to agree that the school had an important role to play in smoking prevention activities (p<0.01). Parents of students in the low SES category regardless of school setting were significantly more likely to support the implementation of smoking prevention activities than parents of students who attended either a middle or high SES school setting (p<0.01). However, even though 79% of parent respondents believed their child’s school should get parental input about what should be taught in tobacco prevention programs, only 62% felt that such activities should include homework and projects involving families. These results provide further evidence that if school-based adolescent tobacco prevention programs are to be successful, public health initiatives need to do a much better job not only soliciting and receiving parental input with regard to proposed anti-tobacco curricula but also in convincing parents of the importance of becoming active participants in the process.