Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense

12-12-2016

Graduate Advisor

Carl Hoagland

Co-Advisor

Cynthia F. Pulley

Committee

Klein, William

Polman, Joseph

Bier, Melinda

Abstract

ABSTRACT Purpose The uptake of smoking by youth under the age of 18 increases the likelihood that they will become lifetime smokers. The CDC recommends best practices regarding tobacco prevention. Among them are Community Policies for tobacco-free zones, community initiatives, anti-tobacco media campaigns, and access to quit-smoking resources. The last of these best practices is a recommendation to provide education in the schools. The subject of this research was the implementation of an in-school tobacco curriculum based on Media Literacy, which provides youth the ability to critically evaluate media messages that equate the “cool” smoking habit with beauty, confidence and superior status. Methodology The population for this study was 470 7th graders residing in a Midwestern state school district. Data for a 2009 Smoking Media Literacy program was collected at the beginning and end of a curriculum intervention for a repeated measures T-test evaluation. The aim was to determine if there was a significant gain in smoking media literacy, a decrease in Pro-Smoking or susceptibility to smoke attitudes and a decrease in intent to smoke. Results Significant findings using the robust T-test showed that general and smoking media literacy increased from pre- to post-test. Results for Pro-Smoking attitudes were not significant in the T-test, but they were significant in preliminary non parametric test with normalized versions of the PSA variables. Intent to smoke results were mixed, with statistically significant movement toward long-term view of intent to smoke, and movement toward non-smoking in the short term. Overall, intent to smoke results were non significant. Despite the increase in the hypothetical test toward Pro Smoking Attitudes and less resilience to Intent to Smoke, the statistically significant and moderate correlative results do indicate that as General Media Literacy and Smoking Media Literacy increased, the Pro-Smoking attitudes decreased, as did the Intent to Smoke. Because of these mixed results, it is suggested that future research using a media literacy curriculum should include a control group and/or longitudinal testing to determine if a similar study might meet core curriculum standards, and at the same time, address risk behaviors among the suburban middle school population.

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