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Cancer Control Research

5R44CA079241-03
Lord, Sarah E.
COMPUTERIZED TOBACCO RISK ASSESSMENT FOR ADOLESCENTS

Abstract

DESCRIPTION: We propose development of an interactive multimedia program, Special Report. The program is designed to be offered as a tobacco risk assessment and educational tool for middle and junior high school students to increase knowledge about the effects of tobacco and personal risks for tobacco use, intention not to use tobacco, and self efficacy for avoiding tobacco use. Designed to be offered in a single 50 minute session, Special Report will consist of: 1) a basic tobacco knowledge test and interactive risk assessment; 2) media literacy awareness exercises; 3) education about the short- and long-term physiological and psychological effects of tobacco use, including the progression to addiction; and 4) skill building activities to prevent the use of tobacco. Phase I addressed development of a structure and prototype for this program using the input of early adolescents, parents, physicians and other experts in the area of tobacco education and prevention. All specific aims were accomplished, producing a technical design, working demo CD-ROM, and an outline of a supplemental facilitator manual, Phase II will involve production of a fully operational Special Report CD-ROM, usability testing, a field test of the effectiveness of the program, and satisfaction testing. Based on our own knowledge and extensive discussions with educators and researchers, Special Report will be pioneering in its use of state-of-the-art technology for enhancing tobacco education. If such a program demonstrated effectiveness in reducing risk behaviors and intent to use tobacco over traditional education approaches, school administrators and health educators would likely view it as a desirable and cost-effective way to offer education and prevention information to middle and junior high school students. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The commercial impact of this project is very promising. There are currently 12 million students in the target age range (middle and junior high school) for Special Report [NCES, 1999]. Simultaneously, the issue of tobacco prevention in this age group has become a focus of intense national concern, since youth are most vulnerable to initiating tobacco use during these early adolescent years. With funds from the recent tobacco settlement, more states are attempting to implement programs in this area. Yet, few empirically-based, effective programs geared toward early adolescents are available. If we were able to obtain only a small fraction of the middle and junior high schools in this country as customers, the revenues would be substantial.


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