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Relationship of perceived risks and benefits to teen smoking

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2005 (Cycle 14) Grant #: 14RT-0010H Award: $532,037
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Research Project Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Despite known health risks, smoking rates far exceed the Center of Disease Control’s Healthy People 2010 goals, with current statistics indicating high rates of smoking among older adolescents and young adults. Explanations of adolescent tobacco use often make reference to adolescents’ lack of awareness to tobacco risks and/or that adolescents believe that they are invulnerable to harm. Thus, many intervention programs have tried to prevent or reduce smoking by providing adolescents and adults with information concerning the health risks of smoking. But these efforts have been largely ineffective, and empirical tests of the relationship between perceptions of low risk and tobacco use have been limited. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide detailed knowledge about older adolescent and young adult perceptions and use of tobacco to inform evidence-based program efforts aimed at preventing and reducing the onset and progression of adolescent and young adult smoking. By extending the period of observation of our original TRDRP-funded sample (N=395) from age 14 to age 21, we have the opportunity to lengthen our initial observation into an expanded trajectory of smoking behavior that includes late adolescence/early adulthood.

The specific aims of the study are to: 1) determine the relationship between perceptions of risks and benefits and tobacco use (including susceptibility to use, onset, continuation, addiction, and cessation of tobacco use) from early/mid-adolescence through older adolescence/young adulthood; 2) examine whether personal experiences (or lack of such experiences) with tobacco-related negative or positive outcomes influence subsequent perceptions and tobacco use; 3) determine whether perceptions of the effects of secondhand smoke are related to a reduced likelihood of tobacco onset and/or increased chance of cessation; and 4) begin to explore whether the relationship between perceptions and tobacco use varies by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

In the proposed study, the participants retained from the initial study period will be on average 17.5 years old and will be surveyed every 6 months, either in class or by mail, until an average age of 20-21 years. Data to be collected in the surveys include: smoking-related risk and benefit perceptions, intentions (susceptibility) to smoke, tobacco use, addiction, and personal experiences with tobacco-related negative and positive outcomes. In addition to providing information relevant to theories of health behavior, the results of the proposed study will provide in-depth knowledge about adolescent and young adult risk perceptions that are critical in further development of effective, theory- and evidence-based interventions aimed at reducing adolescent and young adult tobacco use.

Adolescents perceptions of addicition and tobacco use.
Periodical: Pediatric Research Index Medicus:
Authors: Ramos, M, Song, A, Cornell, J, & Halpern-Felsher BL ABS
Yr: 2007 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg:

Adolescents Report both Positive and Negative Consequences of Experimentation with Cigarette Use
Periodical: American Journal of Preventative Medicine Index Medicus:
Authors: Brady, S.S., Song, A.V., Halpern-Felsher, B.L. ART
Yr: 2008 Vol: 46 Nbr: Abs: Pg: 585-90

Perceptions of Tobacco-Related High Risk and Low Benefit Predict Adolescent Tobacco Initiation_x000D_
Periodical: American Journal of Public Health Index Medicus:
Authors: Song, A.V., Morrell, H., J.L. Ramos, M.E. Biehl, M., Kropp, R.Y., Halpern-Fisher, B.L. ART
Yr: 2008 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg: