Many of these adolescents will be lured to cigarettes by advertisements and movies that feature sophisticated models and actors, suggesting that smoking is a glamorous, grown-up activity. However, teens who are savvier about the motives and methods of advertisers may be less inclined to take to cigarettes, a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study indicates.
Teens with above-average smoking media literacy (SML) are nearly half as likely to smoke as their less media-literate peers, according to the lead study in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. The results not only suggest that SML training could be an effective intervention to decrease teen smoking, but they also provide some of the first quantitative evidence linking SML to smoking.
"Many factors that influence a teen's decision to smoke – like peer influence, parental smoking and risk-seeking tendency – are difficult to change," said the study's lead author, Brian Primack, M.D., Ed.M., assistant professor in the School of Medicine's division of general internal medicine. "However, media literacy, which can be taught, may be a valuable tool in efforts to discourage teens from smoking."
Earlier research by Dr. Primack and his colleagues established the reliability and validity of the scale used to measure SML. In that work, more than 1,200 suburban Pittsburgh high school students were assigned SML scores of 1 to 10 based on their responses to an 18-item survey in which they agreed or disagreed with statements such as, "Advertisements usually leave out a lot of important information" and "Movie scenes with smoking in them are made very carefully." The higher their scores, the higher their SML.
In the current study, Dr. Primack and his colleagues conducted further analysis, more completely quantifying the relationship between SML and smoking behavior. They found that the median SML score of all of the survey participants was 6.8, and students with scores above the median were half as likely to smoke or to be susceptible to future smoking than those below the median, even after controlling for over a dozen demographic, environmental and intrinsic risk factors for smoking.
The analysis suggests that even minor intervention may be able to influence behavior. According to survey data, decrease in an SML score of just one point corresponded with a 30 percent increase in a student's likelihood to smoke or be susceptible to smoking.
These findings hold promise for schools and other community organizations searching to implement effective tobacco control programs that are geared especially to teenage audiences. Many of the programs currently in use tend to rely heavily on negative messages and reprimands, which often fail to achieve the intended goal. Media literacy training could be more useful in decreasing smoking rates, the University of Pittsburgh study suggests. Even schools without the resources necessary to sustain a full media literacy program in their curricula could find the information obtained through the study helpful, the researchers say.
These results may encourage research into the relationship between media literacy and other harmful health behaviors, Dr. Primack added.
"Research has linked media exposure to eating behaviors, alcohol abuse, social violence and sexual behavior. Perhaps media literacy will turn out to be valuable in addressing these health-related areas as well," he said.
While this study provides compelling evidence of the potential of media literacy training as a tobacco control intervention, further research on the topic is necessary, Dr. Primack notes. For example, the student population surveyed in this study was largely homogeneous in terms of race and socioeconomic status, so the results will need to be confirmed among more diverse groups. Also, a longitudinal study tracking the relationship between SML scores and smoking initiation would help to shed light on the decision-making process of teen smokers.
Kelli McElhinny | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences