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National Cancer Institute
Behavioral Research - Cancer Control and Population Sciences

NCI Measures Guide for Youth Tobacco Research

Positive and Negative Outcome Expectations of Smoking
Dalton et al., 1999

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Brief Description: This is a 12-item self-report instrument that assesses the positive (seven items) and negative (5 items) outcome expectations of smoking. The intent of this measure is to evaluate attitudinal risk factors for smoking initiation and inform the development of messages for tobacco prevention programs. Response choices are on a four-point Likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree).
Target Population: Adolescents, grades 6-12, ages 10-18 years.
Administrative Issues: Self-administered pencil and paper instrument.
12 items on four-point Likert scale.
Can be administered in a classroom format.
Scoring Information: Time required is minimal
Scored by hand.

Author recommends putting response option anchors (e.g., "strongly agree", etc.) on each line in place of numbers, particularly for younger respondents.

Responses for each item were collapsed into dichotomous variables. Responses for the positive outcome expectations are coded as 1 if respondents did not "strongly disagree" with the statement, indicating that they did not absolutely rule out the positive outcomes of smoking. Responses for the negative outcome expectations were coded as 1 if the respondent "strongly agreed" with the statement, indicating that they strongly believed in the negative consequences of smoking. Summary scores for both the positive and the negative expectations were created by summing the dichotomous variables, so that values range from 0 to 7 for positive and 0 to 5 for negative expectations.
Psychometrics: Reliability studies completed
    Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha for positive expectancy scale =.88, Cronbach's alpha for negative expectancy scale = .70)
No test-retest reliability estimates

Measures of validity conducted
    Content (derived from review of the literature, consultation with educators and tobacco researchers, and focus groups with adolescents)
    Construct (report that scales are associated with susceptibility to smoking)
Clinical Utility of Instrument: Useful in prevention efforts to assist in the identification of positive smoking beliefs which can then be used to offer teens alternative means for achieving those outcomes. The positive outcome expectations can be used to identify teens who are particularly susceptible to smoking initiation.
Research Applicability: To identify smoking outcome expectancies and to explore the influence of positive/negative outcome expectancies in prevention and intervention treatment outcomes.
Copyright, Cost, andSource Issues: No charge for use.
Source Reference: Dalton, M.A., Sargent, J.D., Beach, M.L., Bernhardt, A.M., & Stevens, M. (1999). Positive and negative outcome expectations of smoking: Implications for prevention. Preventive Medicine, 29, 460-465.
Supporting References: None.
Author: Madeline Dalton, Ph.D.
Contact Information: Madeline Dalton, PhD
Associate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics
Cancer Risk Behaviors Group, HB 7465
Dartmouth Medical School
One Medical Center Drive
Lebanon, NH 03756
Ph: 603-653-0787
Fax: 603-653-0790
Email: Madeline.Dalton@Dartmouth.edu
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Last Updated: May 1, 2012

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