Health Communications and Technology

Examining a Text Message Intervention for Smoking Cessation

Most smokers want to quit and nearly half attempt to quit each year. However, few actually succeed. The problem is particularly acute among young adult smokers who tend to under-utilize existing smoking cessation services, and have limited access to health insurance and healthcare. New, innovative approaches are needed that can reach out to younger adult smokers and help them quit. Intervention delivery modalities that can be inexpensively delivered in an appealing format with wide reach are particularly compelling for treating younger smokers. For this project we will develop and test a theoretically driven, evidence-based smoking cessation counseling intervention that can be delivered through SMS text messages. Text messaging is popular with younger adults (<35 years), over half of whom use text messaging, often sending 50 or more messages per week. Text messaging can be used to provide advice and interactive support adapted from evidence-based interventions for smoking cessation. However, thus far text messaging is an untapped medium and has been only rarely studied as an intervention delivery tool. Existing studies have significant limitations which the proposed study will attempt to redress.

Principal Investigator:Beth Bock, PhD

Co-Investigators: Kathleen Morrow, PhD and Joseph Fava, PhD

Funding Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Dates: 2009-2011

The Sentinel Events Model: A Dynamic Model of Substance Use Cessation

This study will develop and validate the Sentinel Events Model, a new dynamic model of behavior change predicated on the observation that quit attempts using addictive substances are often preceded by the experience of negative consequence of use, such as health problems. We seek to better understand the cognitive and affective mechanisms of action that mediate between sentinel events and behavior change milestones. Our study uses an innovative measurement strategy: cellular telephone-based ecological momentary assessment to measure these constructs.

Principal Investigators:Beth Bock, PhD (Subcontract PI) and Edwin Boudreaux, PhD (Project PI)

Co-Investigator: Bruce Becker, MD, MPH

Funding Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Dates: 2008 - 2013

Wii Fitness: Study One

The primary goal of this pilot study is to examine the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a supervised program of exergames on markers of physical fitness and cardiovascular disease risk. Sedentary, prehypertensive adults will participate in a 12-week exergame program using Nintendo's Wii gaming platform. A trained research assistant will supervise all exercise sessions in which heart rate will be monitored throughout each session. Assessments will include measures of feasibility (e.g., attendance, study completion), acceptability (e.g., enjoyment, satisfaction), physical fitness, and cardiovascular disease risk (blood pressure, resting heart rate). Our primary outcomes are the feasibility and acceptability of using the Wii to meet the national recommendations for physical activity. Secondary outcomes include changes in fitness and cardiovascular risk indices. We will use descriptive techniques and repeated measures analyses to examine the within-group changes from pre- to post-intervention. If study hypotheses are supported, additional funding will be sought to rigorously test whether exergames are a viable physical activity program that provides enjoyment and variety to individuals at risk for hypertension and/or CVD.

Principal Investigators:Beth Bock, PhD and Eva Serber, PhD

Co-Investigators: Joe Ciccolo, PhD and Peter Tilkemeier, MD

Funding Agency: The Rhode Island Foundation and the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine

Dates: 2009-2011

Motivating Smokers with Mobility Impairments to Quit Smoking

The aim of this project is to use community based participatory research to develop and produce a theory-based DVD for smoking cessation that is tailored for smokers with mobility impairments, and test the efficacy in a randomized clinical trial.

Principal Investigator:Belinda Borrelli, PhD

Co-Investigators: Beth Bock, PhD; Rosemary Hughes, PhD and Tom Lasater, PhD

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Dates: 2009 - 2014

Adherence to Self-paced vs. Prescribed Intensity Physical Activity: Exploring Mechanisms via Ecological Momentary Assessment

This study compares adherence to self-paced intensity and prescribed moderate intensity walking programs, and explores acute affective response to exercise as a predictor of treatment outcomes through use of ecological momentary assessment.

Principal Investigators:Joseph Fava, PhD (Subcontract) and David Williams, PhD (Project PI)

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Dates: 2009 - 2011

Web Based Physical Activity Intervention for Young Adult Cancer Survivors

Those diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 18 and 39 face a number of increased risks including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, second cancers, and emotional distress. Despite their increased risks, very little research has targeted young adult cancer survivors and there is evidence that they have many unmet psychosocial and behavioral health needs. The goal of this study is to address some of these unmet needs by developing and pilot testing a physical activity intervention for young adult cancer survivors. The intervention is based on a previously developed, theoretically-grounded, tailored Internet intervention for sedentary adults. Two key enhancements have been added to the intervention website in order to target young adult cancer survivors: 1) information pertinent to cancer survivors initiating an exercise program and 2) a peer-to-peer support component. Ten young adult cancer survivors evaluated the targeted intervention website and provided qualitative feedback. Their feedback was used to make additional revisions and the revised intervention is now being pilot tested. Participants recruited for the pilot test are randomly assigned to an intervention group (receiving 12 weeks of access to the intervention website) or a comparison group (receiving information on other cancer-specific Internet sites). Data on intervention feasibility and acceptability is being collected along with preliminary data on intervention effects (i.e., on physical activity level, mood, and fatigue).

Principal Investigator:Carolyn Rabin, PhD

Co-Investigators: Bess Marcus, PhD, Fred Schiffman, MD

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Dates: 2008 - 2010

Innovative Technology to Improve Patient Adherence to Weight Loss Recommendations

The purpose of this project is to use innovative technology to improve adherence to behavioral weight loss strategies. The program will use Web-based interactive multi-media approaches to promote behavior change and maintenance.

Principal Investigator:Rena R. Wing, PhD

Co-Investigators: Graham Thomas, PhD

Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Dates: 2009 - 2011