Measuring attitudes towards smoking in the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT)
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We present the development of indices using baseline data from the Evaluation Survey for the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT). The indices are designed to measure two primary attitude constructs that relate to smoking behavior: beliefs about smoking as a public health problem (SPHP); and norms and values concerning smoking (NVS). Two general approaches to index construction, the rational method and the factor analytic method, were used. Item analysis suggested good internal consistency for both indices (alpha > 0.75). Seven subconstructs emerged from the factor analysis accounting for 55.0% of the total variance. The SPHP and NVS items uniquely identify with four factors and three factors, respectively, confirming the validity of the two indices. Confirmatory factor analyses of a different data set provided further validation. Validity was also assessed by an examination of the relationships between index scores and smoking status. Smokers reported significantly higher scores than non-smokers on the two measures indicating, as anticipated, that smokers have more favorable attitudes towards smoking than non-smokers. These findings suggest that the two a priori constructs of SPHP and NVS are empirically distinguishable components of attitudes towards smoking, and that the indices developed here are reliable and valid measures of those constructs.
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