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Pediatrician Delivered Smoking Cessation Messages for Parents: A Latent Class Approach to Behavioral Phenotyping

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Message framing can be leveraged to motivate adult smokers to quit, but its value for parents in pediatric settings is unknown. Understanding parents' preferences for smoking cessation messages may help clinicians tailor interventions to increase quitting. We conducted a discrete choice experiment in which parent smokers of pediatric patients rated the relative importance of 26 messages designed to increase smoking cessation treatment. Messages varied on who the message featured (child, parent, family), whether the message was gain- or loss-framed (emphasizing benefits of engaging or costs of failing to engage in treatment), and the specific outcome included (e.g. general health, cancer, respiratory illnesses, financial impact). Participants included 180 parent smokers at 4 pediatric primary care sites. We used latent class analysis of message ratings to identify groups of parents with similar preferences. Multinomial logistic regression described child and parent characteristics associated with group membership. We identified 3 groups of parents with similar preferences for messages: Group 1 prioritized the impact of smoking on the child (n=92, 51%), Group 2 favored gain-framed messages (n=63, 35%), and Group 3 preferred messages emphasizing the financial impact of smoking (n=25, 14%). Parents in Group 2 were more likely to have limited health literacy and have a child over age 6 and with asthma, compared to Group 1. We identified 3 groups of parent smokers with different message preferences. This work may inform testing of tailored smoking cessation messages to different parent groups, a form of behavioral phenotyping supporting motivational precision medicine.


Jenssen BP, Kelly M, Faerber J, Hannan C, Asch DA, Shults J, Schnoll RA, Fiks AG