Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Nancy Wilcox


A stage model of adolescent cigarette smoking acquisition was proposed. This model was based on past research on adolescent smoking, stages of adult smoking cessation, and a transtheoretical model of adult psychotherapy change. An instrument to measure the stages of acquisition was developed. Internal validity evidence was obtained. Based on principal component analysis, item analysis, and coefficient alpha, 21 items were retained, representing three distinct components. These components accounted for 64.8% of the variance and were labeled Precontemplation, Decision-Making, and Maintenance. The three component scales had reliability coefficients ranging from .86 to .94. Initial scores analyses distinct external validity evidence was obtained by comparison of scale with measures of smoking behavior and intent to smoke. Cluster were performed using a variety of methods and solutions. Nine clusters resulted, representing sample profiles based on scores on the three acquisition scales. Among the nine clusters were profiles representing children in five stages of acquisition: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Decision-Making, Action, and Maintenance. Further validity evidence was obtained for these clusters by comparison weights given smoking), the with scores on measures of Decisional Balance (i.e. the to the perceived positive and negative consequences of amount social desirability), the amount of pleasure derived from cigarette smoking, and social desirability. Future research, including the potential use of the stages of acquisition model and instrument in establishing the differential effectiveness of smoking prevention program components, was suggested.



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