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Cancer Control Research

5R21CA137286-02
Shadel, William G.
IN VIVO ASSESSMENT OF YOUNG ADULTS' EXPOSURE TO CIGARETTE ADVERTISING

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): There is ample evidence to suggest that a relationship exists between exposure to cigarette advertising and smoking in children and adolescents under the age of 18. Studies documenting this relationship have been extremely varied. They have ranged from highly controlled experimental laboratory studies of small select samples to naturalistic quasi-experimental studies of large diverse populations of middle and high school students. However, this diversity of design and method represents a weakness of this literature: the inherent trade-offs researchers have had to make in choosing study designs, measures, and approaches make it difficult to draw precise conclusions about cigarette advertising effects. In addition, the tobacco industry has turned its marketing attention toward college students so the extent to which the extant literature on cigarette advertising effects can be generalized to older adolescents is not known. The Overall Aim of this revised (A1) project is to adapt ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to address these questions. EMA uses palmtop computers to monitor psychological phenomenon in "real time" and in "real life". It affords the measurement precision of a laboratory setting, and the external validity of naturalistic quasi-experimental field studies. As such, it has significant potential to address the methodological gaps in this domain of inquiry and to markedly improve on the strength of evidence surrounding the relationship between cigarette advertising and smoking behavior in an understudied population. However, EMA has not been used to investigate the relationship between cigarette advertising and smoking. As such, there are real challenges to adapting this methodology to this domain of inquiry and these challenges need to be carefully addressed before it can be used on a larger scale. The first phase of this developmental R21 project will involve a series of formative studies designed to adapt EMA for studying exposure to cigarette advertising in college students. The data from these formative studies will be used to inform the final phase of this project: a short term field test of EMA for studying exposure to cigarette advertising in college students. Participants in the field test will use EMA to record all of their exposures to cigarette advertising and marketing during a 30 day interval, and answer questions about their thoughts and feelings about smoking immediately after each advertising exposure. In addition, participants will be randomly prompted at various points during the assessment interval about their thoughts and feelings about smoking. In effect, then, this field test will utilize a case control design where "cases" of advertising exposure episodes are contrasted with "controls" of randomly sampled non-exposure episodes. Data on feasibility, and barriers and facilitators to EMA use will be collected and exposure data from the field test will be used to advance an understanding of exposure frequency and its effects in vivo in a college sample. This study will provide new information for the field about how to most effectively assess and model the effects of cigarette advertising on smoking, and inform the conduct of larger, longer term studies. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The tobacco industry has refocused its advertising and marketing efforts on young adults in general and college students in particular. It is important to understand how much college students are being exposed to these marketing efforts, and what effects they have on their smoking attitudes and behaviors. Understanding how and why cigarette advertising affects college students is crucial for informing more effective smoking prevention programs aimed at the university level.


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