PEER INTERACTIONS AND ADOLESCENT TOBACCO USE
Small Business Information
724 DULANEY VALLEY RD, SUITE 2, TOWSON, MD, 21204
AbstractDESCRIPTION: In Phase I, the goal of this SBIR project is to determine the feasibility of using a web-based data gathering and assessment system for addressing the problem of smoking among 6th, 7th, and 8th grade children in the school setting. A major innovation is the estimation of social network parameters which are relevant to smoking, smoking-related behaviors and their effects. The proposed software will consist of two complementary but distinct software systems, and will be enhanced by a training workshop. The first software program will collect data used in the description of each classroom?s informal social network, in addition to collecting data involving smoking. The second system entails a mapping and assessment system used by school counselors to assist inanalysis and prevention. Together, these two systems, to be implemented and tested over the course of Phase I and Phase II, are intended to support two levels of intervention: (1) individual "treatment" by counselors of smoking; and (2) using social network parameters to identify and influence leaders and the group dynamics involved in smoking. In Phase I the main aims are (1) to implement and test the feasibility of an effective and efficient interface which children in school can use to record data on smoking and smoking-related behaviors; (2) automatic calculation and presentation to counselors of relevant social network parameters; (3) initial development and software implementation of materials and functions to support training workshops for program development and interventions. For ongoing long-term development and evolution of a software system, implementation of the software as a web-based, multi-tier (i.e., web client, middleware and data base server) client-server system has significant advantages. Deployment of such a system across classrooms and schools is far easier compared to traditional client-server models, since no proprietary networking software is needed nor does proprietary software (other than an Internet browser) need to be installed and maintained on individual computers. The proposed system?s reliance on Java for both the web client and middleware development provides real platform independence, important when many schools use a mix of Apple Macintosh and Windows-based systems. Having subject data kept centrally and off-site on a secure data base server enhances confidentiality and security. In Phase II, targeted interventions will be guided by social network parameters, and outcomes will be systematically assessed through use of the system.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.