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Published in: Behavioral Medicine, vol. 41, no. 4, 2014.


Caregivers of children with asthma smoke at a rate similar to the general population. Research on the relative importance of structural or functional social support in smoking cessation has been mixed. Participants were smokers (N=154) who were caregivers of children with asthma. Both functional (perception of social support measured by the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List) and structural social support (living with another smoker, partner status, and the proportion of smoking friends) were measured at baseline. Participants received an asthma-education and smoking cessation intervention based on Motivational Interviewing. Biochemically-verified abstinence was assessed at 6-months post treatment. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses indicated that functional support predicted smoking abstinence even when controlling for relevant covariates and structural support (OR = .896, p=.025). Exploratory analyses revealed that this effect was driven primarily by the self-esteem ISEL subscale. Structural support (lower proportion of smoking friends), but not functional support, predicted making a 24-hour quit attempt (OR = 1.476, p=.031) but this effect became non-significant when the effect of functional support was accounted for. Smoking cessation that focuses on building general functional support, particularly self-esteem support, may be beneficial for smoking cessation in caregivers of children with asthma.