Program

Dec 05, 2012

OVERVIEW

This program is intended to prevent smoking among middle school students through the development of personal and social skills. Across 15 sessions, participants learn to resist the social pressure to smoke, to deal with their own anxiety, to make independent decisions, and to change their behavior to gain a sense of personal control. A randomized control trial of urban, minority students at 47 schools in New York City found that fewer students in the treatment group schools reported beginning to smoke and fewer reported smoking in the past month, compared with the control group schools.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:  Minority, urban middle school students

This smoking prevention program teaches youth the skills to resist social pressures to smoke as well as general personal development skills to reduce their own motivation to smoke. The program consists of 15 sessions covering five main components. The first is a cognitive component that gives participants information on the consequences of smoking and the prevalence and social acceptability of smoking. The second is a decision-making component that helps participants with critical thinking and independent decision-making. The third component involves teaching youth to deal effectively with anxiety. The fourth teaches social and assertiveness skills to help youth resist social pressures. The fifth component works on self-directed behavior to foster self-improvement and feelings of personal control. The program is delivered in a classroom setting by a trained teacher.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Botvin, G. J., Dusenbury, L, Baker, E., James-Ortiz, S., Botvin, E., Kerner, J. (1992) Smoking Prevention Among Urban Minority Youth:  Assessing Effects on Outcome and Mediating Variables. Health Psychology 11(5):  290-299.

Evaluated population:  This study evaluated 3,153 seventh grade students from 47 public and parochial schools in New York City that serve urban minority students from low income families. The mean age of the sample was 12.8 years. More than half the sample were Hispanic and 19 percent were black.

Approach:  Schools were randomly assigned to either the treatment (1,795 students across 27 schools) or control group (1,358 students across 22 schools). Students in the treatment group received the 15-session smoking prevention program, taught by their usual classroom teachers. The control group schools received no treatment.

Students gave a carbon monoxide breath sample and completed a survey that measured self-reported smoking status at pre-test and again four months later. The survey also measured knowledge about smoking, attitudes toward smoking, normative expectations about smoking, decision making skills, assertiveness, skills efficacy, self-esteem, and psychological well-being. There were no differences between schools in the control group and the treatment group at baseline.

Results:  A smaller proportion of students at schools in the treatment group reported smoking in the past month, compared with schools in the control group. The treatment group schools also had fewer students who reported smoking for the first time during the treatment period than the control group schools. There was no difference between the groups in general smoking status as measured on an 11-point scale.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Botvin, G. J., Dusenbury, L, Baker, E., James-Ortiz, S., Botvin, E., Kerner, J. (1992) Smoking Prevention Among Urban Minority Youth:  Assessing Effects on Outcome and Mediating Variables. Health Psychology 11(5):  290-299.

Contact Information

Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin
Professor Emeritus of Psychology in Public Health
Weill Cornell Medical College
(212) 746-1270

KEYWORDS:  Children, Adolescents, Middle School, Males and Females, Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, Urban, School-based, Skills Training, Substance Use – Tobacco Use

Program information last updated on 12/5/12