Identifying cluster subtypes for the prevention of adolescent smoking acquisition

Document Type


Date of Original Version



School-based smoking prevention programs are typically identical for all students. Tailoring prevention materials to focus on individual needs with an emphasis on students at highest risk is a promising alternative. Recent prevention programs have tailored materials based on the Stages of Acquisition, an extension of the Stages of Change used to tailor smoking cessation materials effectively for adults. Three stages of acquisition have been identified: Acquisition Precontemplation (aPC), Acquisition Contemplation (aC) and Acquisition Preparation (aPR). However, about 90% of nonsmoking adolescents classify themselves in the aPC stage. A cluster analysis was performed, using the Decisional Balance and Situational Temptations scales, for three random subsamples of adolescents within the aPC stage (N1 = N2 = N3 = 514). Four distinct subtypes were identified in each subsample: High Risk, Protected, Ambivalent, and Risk Denial. External validity was established using family support for nonsmoking, peer variables, and stage classification at follow-up assessment (12, 24, and 36 months). Family support for nonsmoking was related to subtype much more strongly than peer interactions. Subjects in the Protected subgroup were the most likely to remain in the aPC stage at each follow-up assessment. Subtype membership, along with membership in the aC and aPR stages, provides important additional information for tailoring smoking prevention materials. Tailored interventions can focus on those adolescents at highest risk and limit or avoid expending resources on those at very low risk. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Addictive Behaviors