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Adoption of Tobacco Programs in California Schools

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Melissa Little, M.P.H.
Award Cycle: 2010 (Cycle 19) Grant #: 19DT-0002 Award: $47,701
Subject Area: Public Health, Public Policy, and Economics
Award Type: Dissertation Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Currently the prevalence of tobacco use among adolescents in California is increasing. In order to reverse these trends, a comprehensive approach to tobacco control among adolescents is needed. School-based substance use prevention and cessation programming is a central part of this approach. There is now substantial evidence demonstrating long term positive effects of school-based prevention programs in reducing adolescent tobacco use. Despite the fact that both state and federal funding agencies mandate that school districts choose programs with proven effectiveness, many school districts still fail to implement evidence-based programs. The present study is designed to examine factors that influence adoption (intentions to use) and initial use of evidence-based tobacco use prevention and cessation programs in schools. We propose to conduct a cross-sectional survey of 274 school district administrators from school districts throughout California. We will define program adoption as the submission of an application to the California Department of Education for competitive Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) grant funds. Our sample will include two categories of districts: (a) those that have applied for a competitive TUPE grant and (b) districts that have not applied. We will match these two groups of districts on key demographic variables, in order to reduce bias and therefore increase precision in our estimates. The purposes of the study are: 1) examine contextual factors that influence California school districts’ awareness of, beliefs about, adoption, and actual use of evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including: (a) community factors (e.g., politics, drug use prevalence and socioeconomic characteristics); and (b) organizational factors (e.g., organizational structure, organizational climate, staff turnover and program champion); and 2) examine the relationship between adoption and actual use of evidence-based tobacco use prevention and cessation programs, and the extent to which the relationship is moderated by levels of funding (e.g., state competitive TUPE grant award and SDFS funding). The results of the proposed study could be useful in developing strategies for increasing school districts’ use of school-based tobacco use prevention and cessation programming. Given the rise in smoking among California youth, it is essential for us to understand the factors that optimize the adoption, utilization, reach and impact of evidence-based tobacco use prevention and cessation programs among California schools.