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DISSERTATION ABSTRACT

Gender tailored feedback for smoking cessation among college women
by Singh-Looney, Manu K., Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2004

The primary aims of the present study were to develop and test the effectiveness of a gender-based brief motivational intervention designed to reduce smoking behaviors among college women. The intervention was designed based on prior research on gender specific smoking cessation education and advice, personalized feedback, motivational interviewing techniques, and applications of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). The intervention consisted of tailored feedback letter delivered on the Internet using personalized feedback on risks and process of change variables from the TTM. The three intervention conditions were: 1) Gender Tailored Feedback (GTF), 2) Tailored Feedback (TF), and 3) Generic Brief Education and Advice (BEA). One hundred and seventy-four participants were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions, with a follow-up rate of 78% (N=135). On average, the participants were 20 years old, smoked 7-8 cigarettes per day, and had 5-7 quit attempts in the past year. Results indicated that on average, all women in the study significantly decreased the number of cigarettes smoked in the past 30 days from baseline to a 6-week follow-up. The women smokers in the TF condition reported on average a greater number of quit attempts over the 6 weeks than women in the GTF condition. However, the GTF women smokers had most women who reported quitting at follow-up. In addition, the women in the TF condition were significantly more likely to move forward in the stages of smoking cessation compared to those in the BEA condition. Moreover, for women in the preparation stage of readiness at baseline, both the TF and GTF intervention significantly increased experiential process use. Results demonstrate that there is small evidence that tailored feedback is effective in moving low-frequency female college smokers forward in the stages of smoking cessation. The addition of gender tailored feedback does not appear to increase the efficacy of non-gender focused Tailored Feedback. The findings from this study contribute to the research examining the role and mechanisms of tailored feedback for health behavior change. Although a small study, these findings indicate that more feedback is not necessarily better. Directions for future research are discussed.