Online Program

Development of a Coding Instrument to Assess the Quality and Content of Anti-Tobacco Video Games

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Julia Alber, PhD, MPH, Center for Health Behavior Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Anna Watson, MPH, CPH, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Health, Gainesville, FL
Tracey E. Barnett, PhD, Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Rebeccah Mercado, MS, CHES, Center for Digital Health and Wellness, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH, Moody College of Communication and Center for Health Communication, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Background: Research has shown the use of electronic video games as an effective method for reaching youth and adolescents with to increase content knowledge about the risks of drugs and alcohol use. Although best practices suggest that the use of theory, health communication strategies, and game appeal are important characteristics to consider when developing games, there are no instruments currently available to evaluate the quality and content of tobacco prevention and cessation electronic games. The purpose of this study was to systematically develop a coding instrument to measure the quality, use of theory, and health communication strategies of tobacco cessation and prevention electronic games.

Methods: An initial coding instrument was developed using previous gaming and tobacco literature, and feedback from a panel of experts in tobacco prevention and technology. Two trained coders applied the instrument to 88 games on four platforms (Personal computer, Nintendo DS, iPhone, Android Phone) to assess inter-rater reliability.

Results: Cohen’s Kappa for each item ranged from .66 to 1.00 with an average Kappa value of .97. The final content analysis coding instrument measures 67 characteristics with three overarching categories: 1)Type and Quality of Games, 2)Theory and Approach, and 3)Type and Format of Messages.

Conclusions: The questions in the instrument can serve as a helpful guide for evidence-based game development.. In addition, the instrument questions can serve as a useful guide or evidence-based game development.  Policymakers should consider the quality and evidence-based qualities of technology-based interventions when developing funding opportunities.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the three overarching categories for a tobacco prevention game-coding instrument. Describe three elements that affect the quality of games for tobacco prevention. List three health communication strategies utilized in games for tobacco prevention.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I coordinated the development of the coding analysis instrument produced as part of this funded study. Previously, I have worked as a health educator where I regularly provided tobacco prevention and cessation education to adolescents and youth. Finally, I have published peer-reviewed articles and presented at professional conferences on the application of technology for health education purposes.
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.