4009.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 6

Abstract #9702

Measuring young children's attitudes toward tobacco and alcohol

Amy M. Bernhardt, MEd, Madeline A. Dalton, PhD, and James D. Sargent, MD. Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Dr, Lebanon, NH 03756, 603-650-8327, Amy.Bernhardt@Dartmouth.edu

We used a role playing scenario to examine young children's attitudes toward tobacco and alcohol and their perception of the use of these substances as normative adult behavior. Props and dolls were used to act out a typical social evening for two adults. Children were asked to take their dolls shopping to buy the things they needed for the evening. At the store, each child was able to select items from 38 miniature products including 34 different foods and drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, newspapers and movies. Eighteen children between 2 to 9 years of age participated. Children were discriminating in their choice of products. Of 38 possible items, the number chosen ranged from 4 to 22 (mean=10.4) and some items were clearly more popular than others. While only 1 child chose a newspaper and 2 chose Rice Krispies™, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish™ and Chips Ahoy Cookies™ were each selected by 8 children (44%). One third of the children (n=6) chose cigarettes and 61% (n=11) chose beer. Children who had their adult dolls buy cigarettes in the store were, on average, younger than those who did not (mean age 3.5 and 5.6 years, respectively), suggesting that play behavior regarding these products becomes regulated as they get older. This pilot study demonstrates that children as young as 2 years of age have assimilated and will imitate alcohol and tobacco use by incorporating these behaviors into their play. These findings highlight the need for further study of very young children's attitudes toward these products.

Learning Objectives: In this session, faculty will discuss the development of young children's attitudes toward tobacco and alcohol use and how to measure them

Keywords: Alcohol, Tobacco

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA