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Effectiveness Evaluation of the I Decide Program

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Louise Rohrbach, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Award Cycle: 2006 (Cycle 15) Grant #: 15HT-1600 Award: $162,304
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Full SARA

Initial Award Abstract
California high school students continue to smoke at an alarming rate, despite a significant decline in tobacco use prevalence since the late 1990’s. Data from the 2001 California Student Tobacco Survey show that 16.2% of boys and 15.7% of girls in grades 9 through 12 reported current smoking (having smoked in the 30 days prior to the survey). Although the vast majority of current high school-aged smokers (72%) report that they attempted to quit smoking at least once during the past year, adolescent smokers are largely unsuccessful in their attempts to quit. It is only in the past 10 years that researchers and policy makers have begun to place a priority on teen tobacco use cessation research and programming. Research on teen tobacco use cessation has been a priority of TRDRP since its inception, and it continues to be a priority.

The proposed research study was developed in response to the TRDRP Request for Applications (RFA#15HT-0001) for evaluations of the teen tobacco used cessation program I Decide. The theoretical foundation for the 11-session high school-based I Decide program is the Stages of Change theory (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983). The program, which is presented in a support group format by an adult facilitator, is voluntary and is designed for “cessation-ready” students. A randomized two-group research design will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the I Decide program. Student smokers in regular high schools in the greater southern California area will be assigned to one of two experimental conditions: (1) the I Decide program group, or (2) a wait-list control group. The primary hypothesis of the proposed study is that students who receive the I Decide program will have a significantly a greater tobacco use cessation rate than students in the wait-list control group.

A total of 252 regular high school students who are current tobacco users will be recruited to participate in the cessation groups and program evaluation study. Students will be assessed at pretest, immediate posttest, and 6 months following program implementation. After the 9-month program evaluation period, students in the wait-list control group will be given the opportunity to participate in the I Decide program. To address the primary aim of the study, which is to determine the effectiveness of the I Decide program, data analyses will compare changes in tobacco use outcome variables from pretest to immediate posttest, and from pretest to 6-month follow-up. The results of this study will help the California Department of Education, and other policy makers, determine whether the I Decide teen tobacco use program is effective, and if so, whether it should be disseminated widely.