Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Attribution theory (Heider, 1958; Jones and Davis, 1965; Jones and Nisbett, 1972; Bem, 1967) has been modified from its usual experimental setting to serve as a theoretical model for a survey of cigarette smoking behavior. The smoking behavior of "significant others" is analyzed as an important information source in the process of belief formation. The instrument for the study was a "Health Information Questionnaire" which was given to 3014 school children (grades 3-12) in Bogalusa, Louisiana, during the 1976-1977 school year. Frequencies and percentages of students' own smoking behavior and of students by the smoking behavior of "significant others" were reported. Twenty-seven belief statements from the questionnaire were subjected to principal component factor analysis with varimax rotation. Four factors were retained for further analysis: "health beliefs," "pleasures of smoking," "external attributions to smokers," and "internal attributions to smokers." Summated rating scores were then developed by adding the scores of each statement retained in each index. Belief index scores were analyzed by an analysis of variance technique (GLM procedure) using behavior of "significant others", age, race, sex, and smoking behavioral groups of the subjects as independent variables. The smoking behavioral categories were analyzed by a stepwise discriminant analysis procedure using the behavior of "significant others" and the belief index scores as predictor variables. Separate analyses were done for each age by sex by race combination for a total of twelve analyses. This project was funded by The National Heart and Blood Institute of the United States Public Health Service (HLO2942) and the Specialized Center of Research--Arteriosclerosis (HL15103).