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An evaluation of a theatre production to encourage non-smoking among elementary age children: 2 Smart 2 Smoke

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the impact of a theatre production on smoking-related attitudes, norms, and intentions of children in grades 1–6 (aged 6–12 years).

DESIGN Seventeen schools were randomly selected among 160 that were participating in the implementation of the theatre production 2 Smart 2 Smoke. Schools that participated in the theatre production after 3 December 1997 were assigned as control schools. Assignment of schools to a given date for the theatre production was a random process. Students in grades 1–6 were surveyed before and after the theatre production and associated activities. The data were examined for pretest–posttest differences and intervention-control differences. The school was the unit of analysis.

SETTING Elementary schools in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

PARTICIPANTS Students in grades 1–6 in 17 elementary schools.

INTERVENTION Two plays2 Smart 2 Smoke for grades 1–3 (6–8 year olds) and grades 4–6 (9–12 year olds), respectively, with follow-up activities for the classroom and home. A national theatre company performed the plays at the schools.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Intention to smoke in the future, normative expectations about how many people smoke, functional meanings of smoking, expected outcomes of smoking.

RESULTS 10% more students reported that they would never smoke a cigarette after the theatre production. Students in grades 4–6 showed changes in the functional meanings and expected outcomes of smoking. Students in grades 1–3 showed changes in normative expectations.

CONCLUSIONS Further research on the impact of live theatre productions as a smoking prevention strategy is recommended.

  • smoking prevention
  • children
  • theatre production

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