Diffusion and implementation of a tobacco prevention program: A replication study

Margaret Jane Lewis, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Tobacco use is a major health hazard, and the onset of tobacco use occurs almost entirely in the teenage years. For this reason, schools are an ideal site for tobacco prevention programs. Although studies have shown that effective school-based tobacco prevention programs exist, all too frequently these programs are not used. In order for effective programs to achieve their potential impact, strategies for speeding the diffusion of these programs to school districts and seeing that, once adopted, programs are implemented as they are intended, must be developed and tested. This study (SC2) set out to replicate the findings of an earlier quasi-experimental study (The Smart Choices Diffusion Study, or SC1) in which strategies based on diffusion theory and social learning theory were found to be effective in encouraging adoption and implementation of an effective tobacco prevention program in schools. To increase awareness and encourage adoption, intervention strategies in both studies utilized opinion leaders, messages highlighting positive aspects of the program, and modeling of benefits and effective use through videotape and newsletters. To encourage accurate implementation of the curriculum, teacher training for the two studies utilized videotaped modeling and practice of activities by teachers. SC2 subjects were 38 school districts that make up one of Texas' 20 education service regions. These districts had served as the comparison group in SC1, and findings for the SC1 comparison and intervention groups were utilized as historic controls. SC2 achieved a 76.3% adoption rate and found that an average of 84% of the curriculum was taught with an 82% fidelity to methods utilized by the curriculum. These rates and rates for implementation of dissemination strategies were equal to or greater than corresponding rates for SC1. The proportion of teachers implementing the curriculum in SC2 was found to be equal to SC1's video-trained districts but lower than the SC1 workshop-trained group. SC2's findings corroborate and support the findings from the earlier study, and increase our confidence in its findings. Taken together, the findings from SC2 and SC1 point to the effectiveness of their theory-based intervention strategies in encouraging adoption and accurate implementation of the tobacco prevention curriculum.

Subject Area

Public health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Lewis, Margaret Jane, "Diffusion and implementation of a tobacco prevention program: A replication study" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9401776.