185620 Predictors of young adult smoking cessation: Evidence for the importance of quitting-related beliefs

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rebekah H. Nagler , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Joseph N. Cappella, PhD , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Although there is evidence that smoking prevalence among young adults may be leveling off, smoking rates for this population are still nontrivial. Thus, recent studies have focused on identifying predictors of young adult smoking cessation. Some researchers have explored psychosocial predictors of quit behavior, but overall there has been relatively little attention to such factors. Drawing on health behavior theory, this study asks whether quitting-related beliefs are important predictors of quit intentions and behavior. A nationally representative survey of young adult smokers ages 18 to 25 was conducted (n=450). Respondents completed a telephone survey and were asked if they were willing to participate in a follow-up survey one year later; 95% (n=426) agreed, and of these 201 respondents (47%) completed the follow-up survey. Results showed that young adults hold beliefs about what positive and negative consequences would result if they were to quit smoking. Controlling for demographic, smoking history, and social environment variables, logistic regression analyses revealed that several of these beliefs are associated with baseline quit intentions: “If I quit smoking…I would respect myself more” (OR=1.46, 95%CI=1.16-1.84), “…I would show my independence” (OR=1.25, 95%CI=1.00-1.56), and “…I would be more tense” (OR=0.82, 95%CI=0.69-0.98). Additionally, there was evidence that beliefs predict subsequent quitting behavior; those who believed at baseline that their quitting would allow them to respect themselves more were significantly more likely to engage in quitting behavior, adjusting for all other variables in the model (OR=1.68, 95%CI=1.16-2.42). Implications for smoking cessation interventions are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the beliefs held by young adult smokers about what positive and negative consequences would result from their quitting smoking. 2. Describe the relationship between young adults’ quitting-related beliefs and their quit intentions and behavior. 3. Recognize the importance of targeting specific beliefs in communication and health education interventions designed to change behavior.

Keywords: Smoking Cessation, Health Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This work is part of my research as a PhD student in health communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.