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Parental and Movie Influences on Adolescent Smoking Behavior

Institution: University of California, San Diego
Investigator(s): Janet Distefan, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 1999 (Cycle 8) Grant #: 8DT-0167 Award: $50,793
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Dissertation Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Background: There is evidence that suggests movies, as well as tobacco advertising and promotion, influence adolescents to smoke. The question yet to be answered is how parents might be able to counteract these influences. These influences may on adolescent smoking may vary by race/ethnicity, education and adolescent age.

Objectives: This project will identify parental influences that may counteract tobacco advertising and promotion and the effects of smoking in the movies on adolescent smoking over time.

Methods: The proposed research project will analyze data from a large longitudinal prospective populationbased telephone survey. The study will measure these influences over a three-year period in youth age 12-15 years at baseline to age 15-18 years at follow-up, by which time many will have started smoking. The sample will be representative of the California population. More than 2,000 records of adolescent and parent responses will be analyzed to lead to the development of future tobacco control interventions.

Research Experience and Environment: As a doctoral student of public health, the applicant has researched parental influences and effects of the portrayal of smoking in movies on adolescent smoking for the previous three years, and had direct input into questionnaires and data collection. The applicant will perform this dissertation research with mentoring from a leader in tobacco control research and a productive team of experts in tobacco research surveys, analysis of population survey data, statistics, epidemiology, psychology and psychometrics, health economics, and health policy, at a university known for research excellence.

Summary: This project addresses two areas that tobacco control programs can use to counteract tobacco industry influences on adolescents to smoke: parental influences and movie influences. Findings will support new strategies to reduce adolescent smoking that involve parents and smoking in movies.