Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Lisbeth Pike

Second Advisor

David Ryder

Abstract

The present study was undertaken to examine the relative contribution of psychosocial variables toward tertiary student smoking behaviour, and their ability to distinguish smokers from non-smokers, or smokers from ex-smokers, amongst this population. Given the higher prevalence of cigarette smoking amongst females of this age group, the psychosocial variables distinguishing female smokers from female non-smokers in the tertiary education system were also examined. It was hypothesised that smoking status of tertiary students would be associated more with their attitude toward smoking than environmental factors. Furthermore, it was hypothesised females would place less emphasis on participation in sporting activities than males, and their inability to recognise the detrimental effect of smoking on health/fitness would be a discriminating factor between female smokers and female non-smokers. The responses of two hundred and eighteen University students to a 57 -item questionnaire constructed for the present study were analysed by Discriminant Function Analyses. The results indicated that whilst factors such as an environment that is socially conducive to cigarette smoking, and exemplar influence, were found to be important variables discriminating between the groups, attitude toward smoking emerged as the strongest factor. The hypothesis that females would place less emphasis on participation in sporting activities than males, and that their inability to recognise the detrimental effect of smoking on health/fitness would be a discriminating factor between females smokers and non smokers, was only partially supported by the present study, group means indicating there were not any significant differences between female smokers and female non-smokers on all variables relating to sporting activities. By using a multivariate model of psychosocial correlates of cigarette smoking it was possible to identity the variables discriminating smokers from non-smokers, smokers from ex-smokers, female smokers from female non-smokers. Analyses yielded high group classifications of 88.6%, 79.7% and 95.0% respectively, which according to McInman and Grove ( 1991) are well in excess of Australian data not employing a multivariate method to classify adolescent cigarette smokers. While the results of the present study cannot be generalised to other adolescent populations, they have served to demonstrate the importance of identifying issues that arc pertinent to particular groups if smoking prevention/cessation programmes arc to be effective.

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