DESCRIPTION: (Applicant's Description)
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United
States, with four out of five persons beginning tobacco use as children or
adolescents. The literature suggests that programs for school-age children
have an impact by reducing tobacco use and decreasing initiation of tobacco
use. Further research is required to determine how to improve this reduction
as well as how to increase dissemination of proven interventions that will
have a significant impact on tobacco use. This application examines how
Internet technology can be used to improve dissemination of a tobacco-use
prevention curriculum for elementary students. The first study year involves
development and analysis of an Internet delivered computer-based program for
fifth grade students. This includes examining presentation and educational
strategies for the Internet as well as identifying environmental barriers that
may impede use of the Internet technology. The second study year is an
evaluation of the expected educational outcomes (e.g., increased knowledge and
non-use intentions, confidence in refusal/decision making skills) from the
Internet-based curriculum. Additionally, analysis will be done on how
effective the Internet program is in delivering different health information
messages. Study designs include a descriptive, qualitative study in the first
year and a pre-post comparison group experimental research design in the
second year. The development study for the Internet-based program will occur
in one suburban and one urban school of similar size. In study year two, the
Internet-based and health educator-based schools will continue to receive the
intervention and an additional matched suburban school will continue to serve
as a comparison. Data collection includes observations, focus groups,
questions in the computer program, and a questionnaire designed for the study
that has content validity and produces consistency in response.
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