DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed project will develop an interactive computer-based program for tobacco prevention aimed at middle school students. The CD-ROM is designed to be an adjunct to the existing health education curriculum provided for 6th through 8th grades. The CD-ROM is based upon our Phase I prototype program entitled Tobacco World in which students are presented with a video arcade interface that offers them random access to several game-like activities in which they learn about tobacco and the negative health effects associated with tobacco use. We will expand the menu of options to include more complex activities and entertaining games. The Phase II program will deliver engaging media to educate students about the risks of tobacco and peer and industry influences on their decisions regarding tobacco. Games and activities will be designed to act on mechanisms shown to be effective in decreasing intentions to use tobacco through changing attitudes, social images, beliefs about short and long term physical consequences, perceptions of peers' social images, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. We will test individual components of the program with middle school students for effectiveness in changing mediating variables related to initiation and use of tobacco. The final program will be evaluated in a randomized trial where middle schools in Oregon and New York will be assigned to either an established tobacco prevention curriculum, or to the usual tobacco curriculum plus the Tobacco World program. Students will be assessed at pre-, post- and 6-month follow-up to evaluate the impact of program use on intentions, and actual tobacco use. A companion website will offer administrative and scoring feedback to teachers via the Internet.
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