DESCRIPTION: (Applicant's Description) Advances in youth smoking prevention
that were realized in the 1980's are beginning to erode (Johnston, 1997).
In order to prevent children and adolescents from becoming regular smokers
we need to better understand the psychosocial factors that place young
people at risk for tobacco use initiation and progression. Using a
large-scale longitudinal cohort of youth who were followed from middle
school and junior high school (ages 12-13) through high school or were high
school dropouts (ages 17-18), we propose three studies: a) to examine the
strongest determinants of youth smoking behavior, and whether these
constructs are better interpreted within a single theoretical paradigm or
within a more parsimonious construction of social influence theory; 2) to
identify if there are special factors that should be considered to tailor
prevention programing for high risk youth; and 3) to explore the temporal
relationships between emotional distress and smoking risk, as well as the
potential moderating effect of social bonding on this relationship, for
adolescents. Collectively, these three studies will better inform our
understanding of tobacco use risks and influences among adolescents. This
work will provide information for populations that are easy to reach through
school-based interventions, as well as for those who are difficult to study
and are at particularly high risk, high school dropouts.
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