The MECHANISMS Study: Learning about norms from lab-in-the-field interventions targeting adolescent smoking prevention

  • Date: Mar 30, 2023
  • Time: 04:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Erin Krupka (University of Michigan)
  • Location: MPI
  • Room: Ground Floor

The MECHANISMS study is a proof of concept lab-in-the-field study which harnesses novel transdisciplinary insights to contrast two school-based smoking prevention interventions among adolescents in the UK and Colombia. We compare schools in these locations because smoking rates and norms are different, in order to better understand social norms based mechanisms of action related to smoking. We aim to: (1) improve the measurement of social norms for smoking behaviors in adolescents and reveal how they spread in schools; (2) to better characterize the mechanisms of action of smoking prevention interventions in schools, learning lessons for future intervention research. The A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial (ASSIST) intervention harnesses peer influence, while the Dead Cool intervention uses classroom pedagogy. Both interventions were originally developed in the UK but culturally adapted for a Colombian setting. In a before and after design, we obtain psychosocial, friendship, and behavioral data (e.g., attitudes towards smoking and vaping as well as biological measures of smoking) from ~300 students in three schools for each intervention in the UK and the same number in Colombia (i.e., ~1,200 participants in total). Pre-intervention, participants take part in a Rule Following task, and in Coordination Games that allow us to assess their judgments about the social appropriateness of a range of smoking-related and unrelated behaviors, and elicit individual sensitivity to social norms. After the interventions, these behavioral economic experiments are repeated, so we can assess how social norms related to smoking have changed, how sensitivity to classroom and school year group norms have changed and how individual changes are related to changes among friends. The talk will focus on some of the main findings as they relate to norms and will draw on some published and other unpublished manuscripts.

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