Can Diseased Lungs and Positive Thoughts Deter Smoking?

Can Diseased Lungs and Positive Thoughts Deter Smoking?

Imagine picking up a pack of cigarettes covered with a huge label showing diseased lungs.

Would you think twice before lighting up? If you’re already a smoker, it’s possible the label may make you defensive about the choice to smoke rather than encourage quitting.

Xiaoli Nan, director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Risk Communication, has received a $357,552 National Institutes of Health grant for a two-year study to determine whether writing out a list of one’s good qualities before viewing the graphic warning labels might change a smoker’s views about the habit. The center is part of the College of Arts and Humanities’ Department of Communication.

The task is a self-affirmation method, based on a psychological theory, to remind smokers of their values. That task can better equip someone to handle threatening risk information, Nan said..

“(Self-affirmation) helps people restore a global sense of goodness, a global sense of feeling good about one’s self,” Nan said.

Nan will study about 300 participants from the African American community. While consumption rates are lower within that community, men are 37-percent more likely to develop lung cancer, Nan said. African American women who smoke have similar rates.

After completing the short writing task, participants will be shown the negative graphic labels. They will then be asked their attitudes toward smoking, intentions to smoke, as well as their evaluations of the warning labels, Nan said. A control group will also be used but they will not be asked to compile the list; they will only be shown the graphic labels, which have been previously proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Nan said she thinks the self-affirmed group will be more receptive to the graphic images. If that outcome is proven by her study, a similar writing task including the positive messages could be easily added to communication-based smoking cessation programs to enhance outcomes, Nan said.

Results from the study will help provide public health educators and government regulators with information on the effectiveness of pairing positive messages with graphic warning labels to communicate smoking risks.

Nan’s research focuses on health and risk communication. Her work has a particular interest in the role of persuasive messages in media play in shaping behavior and perceived risk. Other recent work has included investigations of the design of persuasive messaging to promote human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, funded in part by the NIH.

“Communication, if done right, is a cost effective method of intervention to correct problem behaviors that compromise health,” Nan said.”Self-affirmation is a promising tool for reducing defensive reactions to health risk information, particularly among high risk populations.”

Related Articles:
UMD Astronomers to Analyze Surface of Comet as Spacecraft Drops Robotic Probe on It
Dr. Puett’s Research Examines How Exercising Outdoors or Indoors Influences Mental and Physical Wellbeing
Diversify the Faculty, Transform the University
UMD, NIST Announce Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science
Emerging Disease Could Wipe Out American, European Salamanders
Campus boosts support for Open Access Publishing Fund
UMD Researchers Formulate Cyber Protection for Supply Chains
UMD Professor Receives $1.9M to Study Cell “Glue” Important in Disease
UMD Alumnus and CEO, Brendan Iribe, purchases liscensing rights to UMD-founded Company
CHSE Researcher Recognized for a Lifetime of Achievement in Counseling Psychology

November 5, 2014


Prev   Next

Current Headlines

Researchers Introduce RoCo, a Mobile Personal Heating and Cooling Device

UMD Invention Tackles Remote Wireless Power Delivery

New Vaccine Could Pave Way to Better Gastrointestinal Health in Children

Brain and Behavior Initiative partners with Arena Stage

UMD Researchers' Innovation Takes Goal Setting to Whole New Level

UMD Researchers Change the Game on Cyber Attack Evaluation

Invention of the Year Nominees Create Innovative Solutions in Health, Cybersecurity, Data, and Energy

UMD Research Reveals Reason for Growing Pest Damage in Genetically Protected Corn Crops

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar

Additional Resources

UM Newsdesk

Faculty Experts

Connect

social iconstwitterlinkedinrss
Division of Research
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1541

Email: vpr@umd.edu
© Copyright 2014 University of Maryland

Did You Know

UMD is the top university recipient of research support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)