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Modification of youth substance use behaviour by fear-based versus harm-reduction drug websites

Ong, SY 2008 , 'Modification of youth substance use behaviour by fear-based versus harm-reduction drug websites', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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There appear to be two main philosophies toward drug education; one underpinned by a moral stance against drug use, which tends to adopt fear-based approaches, and another based in harm-reduction which focuses on maximising health should people decide to use drugs. Unfortunately, many drug education campaigns do not assess appropriate key outcome measures for the impacts to be evaluated in a satisfactory manner. Metaanalyses have found that variables from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991) can account for moderate to large variances in behavioural intentions and behaviours over a range of activities. Substance-related TPB studies, which typically include minor extensions or additions in the model, support the model's efficacy in predicting both intentions and behaviour. However, the Prototype Willingness Model (PWM) (Gibbons, Gerrard, Blanton, & Russell, 1998) has been shown to explain additional variance in actual behaviour above the TPB, in substance use behaviours which are not premeditated. By incorporating the PWM components as well as other additional variables such as moral norms, descriptive norms, knowledge, into the TPB, it is possible to synergise the strengths of the models to evaluate the impact of fear-based and harm reduction drug education more comprehensively. Furthermore, whilst the extended TPB model may assist in explaining and predicting key outcomes of substance use behaviours after exposure to drug education materials, persuasion models such as the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) can help explain as well as optimise the persuasive processes in drug education. As the internet is one of the most popular sources of substance-related information today, using a comprehensive social cognition model such as the extended TPB model to research the key outcomes of the online fear-based and harm reduction drug education approaches, could be useful in empirically establishing, and refining, the efficacies of these approaches.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Ong, SY
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Copyright 2008 the author

Additional Information:

Thesis (MPsych (Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2008. Includes bibliographical references

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