Chronological narratives from smoking initiation through to pregnancy of Indigenous Australian women: A qualitative study

Gillian S. Gould, Michelle Bovill, Marilyn J. Clarke, Maree Gruppetta, Yvonne Cadet-James, Billie Bonevski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective One in two Indigenous Australian pregnant women smoke, yet little is known about their trajectory of smoking. This study aimed to explore Aboriginal women's narratives from starting smoking through to pregnancy. Methods A female Aboriginal Researcher conducted individual face-to-face interviews with 20 Aboriginal women from New South Wales, Australia. Recruitment, through Aboriginal services and community networks, continued until saturation was reached. Audio-recorded transcripts were independently open coded by two researchers, inductively analysed and reported using a three-dimensional structure of looking backwards, forwards, inwards, outwards and a sense of place, to elucidate the chronology of events, life stages, characters, environments, and turning points of the stories. Results A chronology emerged from smoking initiation in childhood, coming of age, becoming pregnant, through to attempts at quitting, and relapse post-partum. Several new themes emerged: the role mothers play in women's smoking and quitting; the contribution of nausea to spontaneous quitting; depression as a barrier to quitting; and the hopes of women for their own and their children's future. The epiphany of pregnancy was a key turning point for many – including the interplay of successive pregnancies; and the intensity of expressed regret. Conclusions Aboriginal women report multiple influences in the progression of early smoking to pregnancy and beyond. Potential opportunities to intervene include: a) childhood, coming of age, pregnancy, post-natal, in-between births; b) key influencers; c) environments, and d) targeting concurrent substance use. Morning sickness appears to be a natural deterrent to continued smoking. Depression, and its relationship to smoking and quitting in Australian Indigenous pregnant women, requires further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Indigenous population
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco use disorder


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