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Am J Health Promot. 1994 Jan-Feb;8(3):191-201.

Use and effectiveness of buddy support in a self-help smoking cessation program.

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School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 60612-7247.



This study assesses buddy support in a community-based, minimal-contact smoking cessation program.


Telephone interviews with participants (n=641, response=74%) before and after (end-of-program, n=1,023, response=83%; three months n=757, response=74%; six months, n=859, response=84%; and 12 months, n=713, response=70%) intervention provided the data to be analyzed.


The Chicago metropolitan area was the setting.


Subjects were a random sample of registrants for the intervention program.


A self-help smoking cessation program was used, which included a manual and complementary televised segments. Engaging a buddy was optional.


Background and psychosocial characteristics of participants, characteristics of buddies, program compliance, and smoking behavior were the measures used.


Almost one third (30.3%) engaged a buddy. Those most likely to engage a buddy were female (33.4%), younger than 30 (37.2%), educated beyond high school (33.4%), highly determined to quit (41.8%), and more likely to need help from others (39.8%). More than half of the buddies were from outside the participant's household (55.1%), and more than half were nonsmokers (60.9%). Having a buddy was associated positively with manual use (gamma=.38), viewing televised segments (gamma=.23), recalling manual segments (gamma=.33), and recalling televised segments (gamma=.26). Among those who read the manual least, having a buddy was associated with viewing televised segments (gamma=.26, p less than .05) and with end-of-program quitting (16.8% vs. 9.8%, p less than .05). Having a buddy also was associated with higher abstinence through 12 months (5.8% vs. 2.7%, p=.013). Among those with lower determination, the end-of-program quit rate was more than three times greater (p=.013) for those with a buddy (16.1%) than without a buddy (5.2%). Participants whose buddy was their spouse or partner were more likely to quit at end-of-program (29.1% vs. 18.4%, p=.031).


Buddy support should be promoted as an adjunct to minimal-contact smoking cessation programs. Impact of buddy support might be improved by guiding participants in choosing a buddy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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