Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Brandon, Thomas H.

Keywords

college tobacco use, health intervention, nicotine dependence, dissonance

Abstract

The college setting represents an untapped window of opportunity to target the growing number of college student smokers. To address this need the current study tested an intervention drawing upon research from social psychology and previously effective health-related interventions. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of an experiential, dissonance-enhancing smoking intervention for increasing motivation to quit smoking and reducing smoking by comparing it to two control groups, in a three-arm randomized study. Participants were 215 college student smokers randomized to an experiential smoking intervention, a traditional educational smoking intervention, or an experiential intervention on nutrition.

A secondary purpose of the present study was to explore the influence of possible mediating variables (e.g. risk perceptions, smoking knowledge) and to investigate whether demographic or smoking history variables would moderate the effects of the intervention. As predicted, the experiential smoking intervention was more effective in increasing motivation to quit as compared to both groups. However, moderator analyses revealed that the effect was found only for females. Increased motivation to quit was also demonstrated on an immediate behavioral measure of impact. Additional analyses indicated that a greater reduction in smoking and higher quit rates at follow-up were found for participants in both smoking conditions as compared to participants in the Nutrition control condition.

Potential mechanisms of change were not supported; however, participants who received the experiential smoking intervention exhibited greater smoking knowledge and were more likely to report greater negative consequences of smoking. Findings support the efficacy of a standard didactic intervention, and the added efficacy of a more intensive experiential intervention. Implications for intervention are discussed.

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