Results of the Outcome Evaluation of Kids ACT! Youth Advocacy Program
Problem/Objective: Kids Act to Control Tobacco (Kids ACT!), a youth advocacy program for middle school youth, empowers youth to act as advocates for a tobacco-free society. The NEA Health Information Network developed a curriculum that employs a four step advocacy model. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded evaluators from the George Washington University to conduct an outcome evaluation of program effectiveness. Outcomes of interest were increases in advocacy action and support for social norms for tobacco-free environments as well as delayed onset of use or experimentation with tobacco products.
Methods: A group-randomized design was used in which 31 participating schools in five states were randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions. Evaluators constructed, pre-tested and revised an advocacy questionnaire.
Results: Students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades completed questionnaires at pre-test (n=4,526), post-test (n=4,285) and six month follow-up (n=4,111). Reliability analysis indicated that questionnaire subscales were reliable at or above .88. Results indicate that attitudes, perceived incentive value, self-efficacy for advocacy, smoking status, and behavioral expectancies for action predict advocacy action. At post-test, effect sizes were small for attitudes (.14), perceived incentive value (.19), and self-efficacy (.26) and larger for behavioral expectancies (.36) and advocacy action (.35). Further analysis and follow-up effects will be completed by spring.
Conclusions: This first large scale trial of a school-based advocacy program in the U.S. indicated that schools were receptive to advocacy education and that this intervention had a moderate impact on students' becoming public advocates for a tobacco-free society.