Deconstructing the perfect identity
Fellows, Kelli Lynn
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Despite comprehensive antismoking and cessation campaigns, smoking initiation and rates continue to increase. The current study contends that smoker identity may help explain this dilemma. Prior research on this construct is limited, and existing quantitative measures are inadequate. A new quantitative measure of smoker identity was developed based on theories of identity and extensive tobacco document research (made available through the Master Settlement Agreement). The resulting 16-item measure was psychometrically sound. Significant correlations were identified for: age, number of years smoking, time span between trial and regular smoking, and time between trial and identification as a smoker. The second objective of the study was to explore the relationship between smoker identity and defensive reactions to cessation messages. Psychological reactance was aroused after viewing cessation messages, but individuals engaged in minimal biased processing. Ad type did not impact these responses.