269875 Adolescent Social Influences and Smoking: A new framework through the lens of Social Media

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grace Huang, MPH , Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Dena Rifahie , Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, USC, Los Angeles, CA
Thomas W. Valente, PhD , Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Smoking behavior is one of the major public health threats faced by the world today. Adolescent smoking is of particular concern due to its addictive nature, and often acts as the gateway drug to future problem behaviors. Social influence has historically been recognized as a significant factor in the adolescent's decision-making process. Many behavioral research theories incorporate aspects of social influences, and use its constructs to guide health promotion interventions. The recent boom in social media outlets, however, has transformed traditional communication patterns and information exchange, as well as the dimensions of social influence. Examples include mobile phones and social network sites via the Internet that accelerate the transmission of information and adoption of new ideas or behaviors. Adolescents are one of the major consumers of these new technologies, which further support the use of new media to reach adolescents for smoking prevention and cessation interventions. Though there have been a surge in studies that have shown moderate success in using social media as an intervention tool, few are based on a sound theoretical foundation and even fewer address how and why they were effective. To address this research gap, we aim to 1) provide a theoretical overview of potential mechanisms by which social media influences may occur; 2) review the existing empirical studies in smoking prevention or cessation delivered through social media channels; and 3) propose a new theoretical framework to guide future studies using social media for adolescent health promotion interventions.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe social influence theories and constructs that pertain to adolescents and smoking behaviors. 2. Name at least three adolescent smoking prevention or cessation interventions delivered through the Internet or mobile phones. 3. Describe a new theoretical framework that may help to guide future social media based interventions for adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, Smoking

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensively studied the use of social media for health promotion, and as the primary author, I took the lead on conceptualizing, developing and writing this review paper.
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.