Validation of Scales Measuring Attitudes, Self-Efficacy, and Intention Related to Smoking Among Middle School Students

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Attitudes toward smoking, self-efficacy to avoid smoking, and smoking intention, widely cited correlates of youth smoking prevention, are often measured in large-scale youth tobacco surveys. The psychometric properties of these scales have not been well studied among middle school youth. We examined the factorial, discriminate, and convergent validity of these scales among sixth to eighth graders from a convenience sample of 22 Texas middle schools (51.2% female; 51.21% White, 32.1% Hispanic, 16.9% African American, and 8.8% Other; 67.8% nonsmokers, 21.9% experimental smokers; 3.3% former smokers; and 7.6% current smokers). Confirmatory factor analysis and invariance testing suggest that smoking attitudes, self-efficacy, and intention have evidence of construct validity in this multiethnic sample, and the scales are appropriate to assess these constructs among middle school adolescents. Additional studies are needed to establish additional evidence of validity of these constructs in other middle school samples and other subgroups (e.g. current, experimental, and former smokers).

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