Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Promotion (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Bart Hammig

Committee Member

Kristen Jozkowski

Second Committee Member

Wen-Juo Lo

Third Committee Member

Dean Gorman

Fourth Committee Member

Leah Jean Henry

Fifth Committee Member

Heather Blunt

Keywords

Health and environmental sciences; College student health; E-cigarette; E-cigarette use intention; Electronic cigarettes; Reasoned action approach

Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this study is to examine factors associated with e-cigarette use among college students to better understand their behavior. Using Ajzen’s Reasoned Action Approach, this study sought to better understanding the influence of attitudes, Social norms, and perceived behavioral controls (PBCs) on college students’ intention to try e-cigarettes (even one puff) in the next 30 days.

Methodology. This study employed three phases for a mixed methods design that took place between December 2015 and April 2016. Phase 1 used Middlestadt’s salient belief elicitation procedure to capture responses through an open ended survey (n=58). Phase 2, a pilot sample (n=49), was employed to develop and validate a quantitative measure of the underlying RAA constructs, using responses from Phase 1. For Phase 3, a convenience samples (n=499) allowed for the assessment of the measurement models of both the underlying and global constructs of the RAA using exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling. All samples consisted of University of Arkansas students between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age.

Results. Responses from Phase 1 were used to develop a 162 item measure of the underlying constructs that was reduced to 78 items during Phase 2. During Phase 3, the underlying constructs, attitude, injunctive norms, and PBC were found to significantly predict their respective global measure. Global constructs loaded onto the predicted four factors: intent, attitude, Social norms and PBC, after removing six items. In the final path model, global constructs attitude (.27, p<.001) and injunctive norm (.58, p<.001) significantly predicted intention.

Conclusion. The RAA allows for a better understanding of the values and beliefs people have about a given behavior and how these beliefs influence behavioral intention. College students’ attitudes toward e-cigarettes (e.g., cessation device, fear of addiction) may influence their intention to try these products. Moreover, disapproving referents (e.g., family, parents, and friends) may discourage the use of e-cigarettes for some college students.

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