Barriers to implementation of pediatric emergency department interventions for parental tobacco use and dependence: a qualitative study using the theoretical domains framework

Ashley L. Merianos, Kayleigh A. Fiser, E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens, Michael S. Lyons, Judith S. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric emergency department (PED) and urgent care (UC) professionals can play a key role in delivering evidence-based guidelines to address parental tobacco use and child tobacco smoke exposure (TSE). Understanding PED/UC professionals’ perceptions regarding these guidelines is the first step in developing and implementing a TSE screening and counseling intervention in these settings. This study aimed to use the theoretical domains framework (TDF) to identify current screening and counseling behaviors of PED/UC professionals related to parental tobacco use and child TSE, and determine barriers and enablers that influence these behaviors. Methods: Semi-structured, focused interviews were conducted with 29 actively practicing PED/UC clinical staff who worked at one large, Midwestern children’s hospital. The interview guide was informed by the TDF and included open-ended questions. Content analysis of interview transcripts was guided by the TDF. Nurses, physicians, and healthcare administrators were assessed overall and by group membership to ensure each group was represented based on their varying PED/UC roles. Results: Fifty-one percent were nurses, 38% were physicians, and 11% were healthcare administrators. Most PED/UC professionals did not currently follow the guidelines, but perceived addressing parental tobacco use as part of their role. All 14 TDF domains were identified by nurses, physicians, and administrators in relation to counseling for parental tobacco use and child TSE. Domains with the most sub-themes were (1) knowledge: lack of knowledge about tobacco counseling, including implementing counseling, cessation resources/referrals, and thirdhand smoke; (2) beliefs about capabilities: not comfortable counseling parents, easier to discuss with parents who are receptive and to ask and advise when patients have a TSE-related complaint, and more likely to discuss if there were resources/referrals; and (3) environmental context and resources: barriers include lack of time, training, and resources and referral information to give to parents, and an enabler is using TSE-related complaints as a context to offer counseling. Conclusions: Study findings provide a strong foundation for developing and implementing clinical practice guidelines regarding parental tobacco use and child TSE in the PED/UC setting. Future intervention development will address all TDF domains and test the implementation of the intervention in the PED/UC setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalImplementation Science Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Beliefs about capabilities
  • Children
  • Environmental context and resources
  • Knowledge
  • Parents
  • Pediatric emergency department
  • Theoretical domains framework
  • Tobacco counseling
  • Tobacco smoke exposure
  • Urgent care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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