Effects of Culturally Specific Cessation Messages on Theoretical Antecedents of Behavior Among Low-Income African American Smokers


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Abstract

Previous research has highlighted the importance of cultural relevance in health risk communications, including tobacco interventions. However, few studies have examined the active components of smoking cessation messages targeting low-income African American smokers. This study tested the influence of message content and culturally specific framing in a sample of adult smokers. In a 2 × 2 factorial experiment, 243 African American smokers (M = 19 cigarettes/day) recruited from the community (55% women; mean age = 43 years) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: culturally specific smoking messages, standard smoking messages, culturally specific exercise/weight messages, or standard exercise/weight messages. The primary outcome measures were theoretical antecedents to behavior change, including risk perceptions (general, personal, and culturally specific), readiness to quit smoking, and smoking-related knowledge. The results showed that the smoking messages produced greater culturally specific risk perceptions, readiness to quit smoking, and smoking-related knowledge. The culturally specific messages produced greater personal risk perceptions and intentions to quit. Culturally specific risk perceptions were most affected by culturally specific smoking messages. Findings support the roles of message content and culturally specific framing in the efficacy of brief written interventions for smoking cessation in this population. Future research is needed to examine the influence of these constructs on behavior change.

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