Middle and High Schools Students' Exposure to Alcohol- and Smoking-Related Media

A Pilot Study Using Ecological Momentary Assessment

Published in: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, v. 27, no. 4, Dec. 2013, p. 1201-1206

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Deborah M. Scharf, Steven C. Martino, Claude Messan Setodji, B. Lynette Staplefoote, William G. Shadel

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The goals of this study were to assess the feasibility of using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to measure adolescents' exposure to alcohol and smoking-related media. A sample of 20 middle and high school students completed a 2-week EMA protocol in which they monitored exposures to alcohol and smoking-related media. Results showed that adolescents were highly compliant with the study protocol. A total of 255 exposures to alcohol (67%) and smoking (33%) were captured, representing an average of 8.50 (SD = 5.82) alcohol-related media exposures and 4.25 (SD = 3.67) smoking-related media exposures per participant, during the study period. Exposures tended to occur in the afternoon (52% alcohol; 54% smoking), at point of sale (44% alcohol; 65% smoking), and on days leading up to the weekend (57% alcohol; 57% smoking). Exposures were also likely in the presence of family (69% alcohol; 56% smoking). Overall, results of this small pilot provide preliminary evidence that EMA is a useful tool for tracking and characterizing middle and high school students' real-world exposures to alcohol- and smoking-related media. Future studies may suggest mechanisms by which media exposures lead to youth uptake of drinking and smoking behaviors.

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