Term of Award

Spring 1999

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Anne Scott Stiles

Committee Member 1

Charlene Hanson

Committee Member 2

June Alberto


Caring, health promotion and prevention are fundamental concepts in primary care nursing. The relationship between "feeling cared for" and health-related behavior in adolescents has not been widely studied. Smoking is a preventable but growing problem among U.S. adolescents that threatens their long- and short-term health. Peer pressure and attitude toward smoking have been recognized in the literature as significant predictors of intent to smoke. The purpose of this study was to test whether "feeling cared for" moderated the effect of attitude toward smoking on intent to smoke while controlling for peer pressure.

A questionnaire measuring attitude toward smoking, peer pressure, feeling cared for and intent to smoke was developed and administered to a convenience sample of 52 Chatham County seventh-graders. The internal consistency for the 10-item "Feeling Cared For" Instrument was .80 and for the 3-item Attitude Scale, .85. Peer pressure was measured by a single item and intent to smoke was measured by two items which elicited information on respondents' current and past smoking behavior and whether respondents intended to smoke in five years.

The results of the study indicated a strong relationship of peer pressure to intent to smoke (r=.63). After peer pressure was statistically removed from the equation, multiple regression analyses showed that attitude explained 31.81%, feeling cared for explained5.02%, and the interaction of attitude times feeling cared for (the moderator variable) explained only .15 % of intent to smoke. The total model explained 59.6% of intent to smoke. Thus, while feeling cared for can explain a small amount of intent to smoke, it does not moderate attitude. The limitations of this study include a small sample size, a newly developed instrument, and a homogeneous sample. These factors decreased the power and thus the results may demonstrate a Type II error.

Further research using a larger sample size is needed. Nurses may use this information to implement improved ways of conveying caring to patients while promoting health.


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