Pilot evaluation of a media literacy program for tobacco prevention targeting early adolescents shows mixed results

Christine E. Kaestle, Yvonnes Chen, Paul A. Estabrooks, Jamie Zoellner, Brandon Bigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose. The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the impact of media literacy for tobacco prevention for youth delivered through a community site. Design. A randomized pretest-posttest evaluation design with matched-contact treatment and control conditions. Setting. The pilot study was delivered through the YMCA in a lower-income suburban and rural area of Southwest Virginia, a region long tied, both economically and culturally, to the tobacco industry. Subjects. Children ages 8 to 14 (76% white, 58% female) participated in the study (n = 38). Intervention. The intervention was an antismoking media literacy program (five 1-hour lessons) compared with a matched-contact creative writing control program. Measures. General media literacy, three domains of tobacco-specific media literacy ("authors and audiences," "messages and meanings," and "representation and reality"), tobacco attitudes, and future expectations were assessed. Analysis. Multiple regression modeling assessed the impact of the intervention, controlling for pretest measures, age, and sex. Results. General media literacy and tobacco-specific "authors and audiences" media literacy improved significantly for treatment compared with control (p < .05); results for other tobaccospecific media literacy measures and for tobacco attitudes were not significant. Future expectations of smoking increased significantly for treatment participants ages 10 and younger (p < .05). Conclusion. Mixed results indicated that improvements in media literacy are accompanied by an increase in future expectations to smoke for younger children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-369
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Media Literacy
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Pilot evaluation of a media literacy program for tobacco prevention targeting early adolescents shows mixed results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this