Background: Distributing a multiple computer-tailored smoking cessation intervention through the Internet has several advantages for both provider and receiver. Most important, a large audience of smokers can be reached while a highly individualized and personal form of feedback can be maintained. However, such a smoking cessation program has yet to be developed and implemented in the Netherlands.
Objective: To investigate the effects of a Web-based multiple computer-tailored smoking cessation program on smoking cessation outcomes in a sample of Dutch adult smokers.
Methods: Smokers were recruited from December 2009 to June 2010 by advertising our study in the mass media and on the Internet. Those interested and motivated to quit smoking within 6 months (N = 1123) were randomly assigned to either the experimental (n = 552) or control group (n = 571). Respondents in the experimental group received the fully automated Web-based smoking cessation program, while respondents in the control group received no intervention. After 6 weeks and after 6 months, we assessed the effect of the intervention on self-reported 24-hour point prevalence abstinence, 7-day point prevalence abstinence, and prolonged abstinence using logistic regression analyses.
Results: Of the 1123 respondents, 449 (40.0%) completed the 6-week follow-up questionnaire and 291 (25.9%) completed the 6-month follow-up questionnaire. We used a negative scenario to replace missing values. That is, we considered respondents lost to follow-up to still be smoking. The computer-tailored program appeared to have significantly increased 24-hour point prevalence abstinence (odds ratio [OR] 1.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.30–2.65), 7-day point prevalence abstinence (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.44–3.27), and prolonged abstinence (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.28–3.09) rates reported after 6 weeks. After 6 months, however, no intervention effects could be identified. Results from complete-case analyses were similar.
Conclusions: The results presented suggest that the Web-based computer-tailored smoking cessation program had a significant effect on abstinence reported after a 6-week period. At the 6-month follow-up, however, no intervention effects could be identified. This might be explained by the replacement of missing values on the primary outcome measures due to attrition using a negative scenario. While results were similar when using a less conservative scenario (ie, complete-case analyses), the results should still be interpreted with caution. Further research should aim at identifying strategies that will prevent high attrition in the first place and, subsequently, to identify the best strategies for dealing with missing data when studies have high attrition rates.
The program Persuasive Communication addresses those communication processes that are intended to achieve specific persuasive goals, as is the case in, for instance, marketing communication, health education, and public information campaigns. The research is aimed at understanding the dynamics that shape uses and effects of mediated persuasive communication. Read more >>
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