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Cancer Control Research

Shadel, William G.


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Adolescent cigarette smoking rose dramatically during the 1990's and one reason for this increase is the presence of cigarette advertising in domains accessible to adolescents. Although associations between increased cigarette advertising and increased smoking among adolescents have been persuasively documented, the individual difference mechanisms and advertising factors that contribute to this association and the precise causal role that cigarette advertising plays in influencing adolescent motivation to smoke has not been clearly established. Using a theoretical framework that integrates concepts from the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion and social cognitive conceptions of self concept development, the research proposed seeks to identify the factors in cigarette advertising that interact with features of adolescents' self-concept to causally contribute toward their motivation to smoke in the future. Phase I of the proposed study will conduct an evaluation of the degree to which cigarette advertisements are persuasive (indexed by attractiveness and likeability of source models in the advertisements, affective valence of the advertisements, and suggest that smoking or smokers hold positive personality characteristics) Phase II is an experimental study designed to evaluate whether the persuasive strength of cigarette advertisements interacts with the number of self-conflicts nonsmoking adolescents report to influence their motivation to smoke in the future. A sample of 130 nonsmoking adolescents who report a low number of self-conflicts and a sample of 130 nonsmoking adolescents who report a high number of self-conflicts will be randomly assigned to view either cigarette advertisements of weak self-concept persuasive strength or cigarette advertisements of strong self-concept persuasive strength. Attitudes toward smoking and intentions and willingness to smoke in the next year will be assessed as the dependent variables. We hypothesize that adolescents who possess a high number of self-conflicts will show more positive attitudes toward smoking and a greater willingness and intention to smoke when exposed to cigarette advertisements of strong persuasive strength. Adolescents who possess a low number of self-conflicts are not expected to be influenced by the persuasive strength of the advertisements. This research has the potential to identify those nonsmoking adolescents who are at risk for being highly susceptible to the effects of cigarette advertising.

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