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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 767; doi:10.3390/ijerph15040767

Boy Smokers’ Rationalisations for Engaging in Potentially Fatal Behaviour: In-Depth Interviews in The Netherlands

1
Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Centre, 1100DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, 1018WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3
Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, 3521VS Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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Abstract

Adolescent smokers engage in cognitive rationalisation processes that lower perceptions of personal vulnerability to the health consequences of smoking. There is, however, hardly any evidence that provides in-depth insights on adolescents’ recurring rationalisations. Therefore, we explored how boy smokers deal with the knowledge that they are engaging in potentially fatal behaviour. Interviews were held with 16 boy smokers aged 16 to 17 years old. The qualitative analysis focussed on combining boys’ reasons about why they think they will not experience severe health consequences into coherent rationalisations that recurred among interviewees. Three rationalisations emerged from the analysis. First, boys trivialize the immediate consequences and think these can be compensated for and are outweighed by the benefits of smoking. Second, boys assume that smoking will only take place during adolescence and they will, therefore, recover from the damage inflicted. Third, boys believe that they have control over the amount and frequency of smoking and, thereby, can ensure that they will not experience fatal consequences. Boys’ recurring rationalisations build on their view that they are supposed to have fun and will not become typical adult smokers. Interventions should address these rationalisations in order to increase adolescents’ perceptions of personal vulnerability, and thereby contribute to decreasing adolescent smoking. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescent health; adolescent smoking; tobacco; health risk appraisal; cognitive dissonance adolescent health; adolescent smoking; tobacco; health risk appraisal; cognitive dissonance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Schreuders, M.; Krooneman, N.T.; van den Putte, B.; Kunst, A.E. Boy Smokers’ Rationalisations for Engaging in Potentially Fatal Behaviour: In-Depth Interviews in The Netherlands. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 767.

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