Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Ruth Shafer

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Deb Ayres

Abstract

This is a study focusing on a tobacco prevention program with a media literacy component that was administered in middle schools across the state of Missouri. In this study, the effectiveness of the Youth Empowerment in Action – Tobacco Education Advocacy and Media Program (YEA! TEAM) was investigated to determine if the inclusion of a media literacy component in an anti-tobacco prevention program made an impact on youth and their overall attitudes towards smoking. In this program, youth were taught how to dissect persuasive media techniques to make informed decisions. The research question for this study was, Can the media literacy component in the antitobacco prevention program have an effect than those without on preventing tobacco use? In order to answer this question, the researcher investigated the relationship between prevention programs with a media literacy component and prevention of tobacco use among adolescents. The YEA! TEAM program curriculum consisted of five major components which included professional development for teachers administering the program, detailed lesson plans aligned with state standards, student media production, Project Citizen, and parental involvement. Participation in the program was voluntary and students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 received program instruction during school or after school. All students who participated in the program took a pre-test before the program and a post-test after the program which was used to measure change in general media literacy (GML), smoking media literacy (SML), and attitudes towards smoking (ATS). The data gathered from pre- and post-tests indicated that the YEA! TEAM programming significantly impacted their attitudes toward smoking. Three standardized scales, GML, SML, and ATS were compared by using t-tests to measure change. The vi final results were encouraging and indicated significance in both GML, SML, and in ATS. The results of the YEA! TEAM program found that a prevention program with a media literacy component has a significant impact on youth. Though the results of the YEA! TEAM program were encouraging, future prevention programs will benefit from further research for a sustained period of time to effectively assess if the program is successful in all middle school age youth.

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