Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health


qualitative interview, patient experience, smoking cessation, Muskie School of Public Service


“Urine Cotinine in Children and Parental Behavior Modification” was designed by Dr. Deirdre Burns, a pediatrician at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH). It was implemented as a pilot study to determine whether urine cotinine testing in children who are admitted to the hospital for respiratory illness and tracking parental smoking behaviors over time was feasible. Parents were given a brief survey to assess their current smoking behaviors and to understand their readiness to quit smoking. They received smoking cessation materials provided by the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine. These materials outline information about second-hand and third-hand smoke, and encourage children to participate in their parent’s smoking cessation efforts as well. Parents were referred to Maine Tobacco Helpline. With their permission, the parents were contacted by the Maine Tobacco Helpline and offered tobacco cessation counseling and treatment, including nicotine patches, gum or lozenges. One month after the initial enrollment, parents were contacted via phone and given the same survey they took at enrollment. This was done so the research team could compare follow-up responses to the baseline responses. In addition to the quantitative survey questions, the parents were asked a series of open-ended qualitative questions. These questions were used to gather narrative data that will be used to inform future studies. This pilot study aimed to use a similar protocol to create the most effective smoking cessation program for future studies and to guide smoking cessation programs for BBCH.

As a graduate student, my role in the study was to design, implement and analyze the qualitative interview protocol. The goal of the qualitative interview section of the study was to obtain information that reaches beyond the scope of the quantitative survey alone. The qualitative interviews sought to assess the intervention, as well as the participant's overall experience as a study participant.



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