This study investigates an approach for reducing inhalant initiation among younger adolescents: altering Socio-Personal Expectations (SPEs), a term referring to perceived linkages between behavior and personally relevant social outcomes. The study focuses specifically on SPEs regarding outcomes associated with increased social status and popularity. An anti-inhalant message was embedded within a short anti-bullying education video. Young adolescents (N = 893) were assigned randomly to receive a message focused on the physical or the social harms of inhalant use. The objectives of this study were to test: (1) the malleability of SPEs, (2) SPEs’ predictive validity for future inhalant use, and (3) whether being exposed to a socio-personal threat, rather than a physical threat, led to different variables affecting drug-relevant decision-making processes. Analysis of variance suggested the malleability of SPEs (p < .001). Multiple regression analysis revealed that SPEs were predictive of future inhalant use. SPEs accounted for a significant portion of variance in future intentions over and above demographic variables, prior use, psychosocial variables, and perceived physical harm (R 2 = .26, p < .01). Moreover, being exposed to a social, rather than a physical threat, message resulted in different variables being predictive of future intentions to use inhalants.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 10, 2008
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