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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Text Message Delivered Peer Network Counseling for Adolescent Smokers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Monday, August 15, 2016  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Mason M, Mennis J, Way T, Zaharakis N, Campbell LF, Benotsch EG, Keyser-Marcus L, King L.
Text Message Delivered Peer Network Counseling for Adolescent Smokers: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
J Prim Prev. 2016 Jul 7. [Epub ahead of print]
Although adolescent tobacco use has declined in the last 10 years, African American high school seniors' past 30-day use has increased by 12 %, and as they age they are more likely to report lifetime use of tobacco. Very few urban youth are enrolled in evidenced-based smoking prevention and cessation programming. Therefore, we tested a text messaging smoking cessation intervention designed to engage urban youth through an automated texting program utilizing motivational interviewing-based peer network counseling. We recruited 200 adolescents (90.5 % African American) into a randomized controlled trial that delivered either the experimental intervention of 30 personalized motivational interviewing-based peer network counseling messages, or the attention control intervention, consisting of text messages covering general (non-smoking related) health habits. All adolescents were provided smart phones for the study and were assessed at baseline, and at 1, 3, and 6 months post intervention. Utilizing repeated measures general linear models we examined the effects of the intervention while controlling for race, gender, age, presence of a smoker in the home, and mental health counseling. At 6 months, participants in the experimental condition significantly decreased the number of days they smoked cigarettes and the number of cigarettes they smoked per day; they significantly increased their intentions not to smoke in the future; and significantly increased peer social support among girls. For boys, participants in the experimental condition significantly reduced the number of close friends in their networks who smoke daily compared to those in the control condition. Effect sizes ranged from small to large. These results provide encouraging evidence of the efficacy of text messaging interventions to reduce smoking among adolescents and our intervention holds promise as a large-scale public health preventive intervention platform.

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