Evaluation of an American Legacy Foundation/Washington State Department of Health Media Literacy Pilot Study

A pretest-posttest quasi-experiment was used to evaluate a pilot test of a media literacy curriculum implemented during summer 2001 in Washington state. As expected, media literacy training reduced youths'beliefs that most peers use tobacco, increased their understanding of advertising techniques, and increased their levels of efficacy regarding the extent to which they would participate in advocacy and prevention activities. Mixed results were found for skepticism, which appeared to suffer from a ceiling effect, and surprising results were found for desirability, also seemingly an artifact of the measures used. The results indicate that media literacy training combining skill development with a motivational component represents a promising avenue for tobacco use prevention efforts. The study also helps establish some reliable outcome measures for media literacy evaluations, but additional testing should continue to pursue the development of a complete battery of reliable and valid indicators.

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