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Anti-Tobacco Programming: Reaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): Barbara Berman, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 1997 (Cycle 6) Grant #: 6RT-0047 Award: $446,947
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Although much has been learned about smoking patterns, programming, and barriers to program delivery among hearing youth, little has been learned about young people who are deaf. Deaf Californians of all ages have been largely ignored in terms of tobacco- related research, despite the fact that there are not only more deaf or hard-of-hearing persons (2.3 million) in California than there are Native American/ Eskimo/Aleut (24,000) or African Americans (2.1 million), and nearly as many as the State's entire population of Asian and Pacific Islanders (2.7 million), but also the number of deaf children has increased in the past ten years. Such research is needed. Many of those who are deaf define themselves as members of a Deaf community with a unique language and culture. This makes it very likely that Deaf young people will have little access to programs that target those who can hear, and that smoking patterns and program needs are different in this community than in the hearing world.

Communication, language, and other barriers have hindered collection of information about tobacco use. In order to take the first step towards developing effective programs for this populat-ion, we propose to conduct in-person interviews among 500 deaf children, adolescents, and young adults in California residential and day schools for the Deaf, and in programs for the Deaf in mainstream schools and colleges, where Deaf youth go to school with those who can hear. We will use a specially designed innovative interactive video questionnaire technology, the Interactive Video Questionnaire (IVQ) to conduct the survey. This computer system will allow us to communicate in all of the languages that Deaf people use. Through these interviews we will learn about the tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices of this population, about exposure to anti-tobacco programs, and about the views that young Deaf people have regarding ways to deliver smoking prevention and cessation education effectively. We will also conduct telephone interviews with administrators of residential and day schools for the Deaf, and of mainstream schools and colleges in California to learn about anti-tobacco programs that are already available, and about what these educators believe programming needs to be. Finally we will conduct focus groups among deaf children, adolescents, and young adults, in order to review our findings and make specific recommendations about culturally sensitive programs tailored to the language and other needs of this underserved population. These programs can help prevent smoking among young people who are deaf, and can encourage smoking cessation among young deaf tobacco users. Thus, this project is directly relevant to TRDRP research priorities which focus on prevention and cessation of tobacco use among all California youth.

Final Report
Communication, language and other barriers have hindered collection of information from the Deaf about tobacco knowledge, attitudes and practices; exposure to anti-tobacco programs; and strategies for effective smoking prevention and cessation education. Iri this study we set out to conduct in-person interviews among 500 deaf children, adolescents and young adults in California residential and day schools for the Deaf, and in programs for the Deaf in mainstream schools and colleges. We proposed using a specially designed interactive computer technology, the Interactive Video Questionnaire (IVQTM), which allows us to conduct the survey in the languages of the Deaf. We also planned to interview, by telephone, administrators of these schools and programs for the Deaf, to learn about existing anti-tobacco programs available to the Deaf, and the programming needs of Deaf youth. Finally, we planned to review our findings with focus groups among sub-samples of our respondent pool, and to make specific recommendations for programs tailored to the language and other needs of this underserved population.

In carrying out this study, we developed both the IVQTM survey as well. as a written English language equivalent, Using these two survey methods, we completed 467 interviews among junior high, high school and college/graduate school youth and young adults. These interviews were conducted at 15 school and college sites in the greater Los Angeles area and in Fremont, California. An Administrator/ Faculty Telephone Interview Schedule was developed and delivered to educators at 46 of the 54 elementary, junior high and high schools and school districts listed in the American Annals of the Deaf (1996) as serving deaf/hh youth in California. Data analysis and manuscript preparation are ongoing. Presentations have been made to disseminate our findings at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (1999), at the National Biennial Conference of ADARA (American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association)(2001), and at TRDRP's Annual AIM meetings (1998-2001). Additional funding has been obtained from the Tobacco Related Diseases Research Program (TRDRP) through its CARA and SARA mechanisms to extend our program of research among deaf/hh youth to include qualitative research and curriculum development. Review and dissemination of study findings by deaf/hh youth and by adult members of the Deaf Community is central to this process.

What we learn from this study is helping us to understand tobacco use among deaf/hh youth and young adults, an underserved and understudied population, and to develop culturally appropriate programs for both smoking prevention and cessation. This project is directly relevant to TRDRP research priorities, which focus on prevention and cessation of tobacco use among all California youth.