Abstract An attitude is a representation of an individual’s degree of like or dislike for an act, object or evaluation. This report aims to conclude whether there is a difference between female and male attitudes towards smoking. It is hypothesised that females will have a more positive attitude towards smoking. Questionnaires using a 5 point likert scale will be utilised to measure each participants’ attitude towards smoking through their responses. Results stated there is no significant difference between genders when scores were placed through an independent t-test.
It is concluded that more research onto attitudes towards smoking and with a larger sample is needed to draw reliable results, which can then in turn be used to help understand ways to prevent smoking and associated health issues. Lab Report on Measuring Attitudes of Male and Female Participants Towards Smoking An attitude is an association between an act or object and an evaluation, this can effect whether we view something positively or negatively and can be applied to various issues including judging people, politics, morals and religion (Fazio et al. 2008). An attitude is theorised to comprise of three different components, they are the cognitive component, emotional component and behavioural component (Gazzaniga et al. , 2010). Attitude cannot be directly measured, however peoples’ approach on a range of life issues can be ascertained through surveys and questionnaires, and converted into data. In some communities, gender plays a large role in smoking and the population’s attitudes. This is seen particularly when there are religious influences or certain gender specific values; Bush et al. 2003), concluded smoking within Pakistan was commonly accepted, where a large number of the population being Muslim or Hindu. Amongst Bangladeshi men, it was mainly associated with socialising, sharing, and male identity. Though among women, smoking was coupled with stigma and shame. Research conducted on gender specific influences on smoking, quitting and attempting to quit by Pirie et al. (2004), reported that more women than men were current smoking (26. 5 vs. 22. 6 percent), but quitting attempts, successful and unsuccessful, were equally common.
Other past research supports that in the early 20th century, women were less likely to smoke due to social norms and widespread disapproval of women smoking, but as time progressed into the mid 20th century, growing social acceptance of women’s smoking contributed to increased smoking by women (Waldron, 1991). One particular study conducted on teen-age boys and girls found social meaning and external pressures were a large influence on participants, with gender and socioeconomic status being a frequent factors in terms of smoking prevalence (Clayton, 1991).
There is little other research onto the gender differences towards smoking attitudes. This could be due to the fact that attitude is more linked to individual behaviours; such as varied understanding of social norms, overall knowledge of smoking and its health related issues, and general enjoyment/experiences when undertaking smoking in various environments, rather than gender specific differences (Waldron, 1991; Bush, et al. , 2003; Slovic, 2010). In this instance, if we can change attitudes we may change behaviour and be able to prevent smoking related health issues and deaths.
The aim of this report is to find the difference between male and female attitudes towards smoking. To research whether there was a gender difference in attitudes, the study examined the attitude of university students presented with statements about a range of smoking-related issues including social, financial and health elements. It was hypothesised that females were to have a more positive attitude towards smoking than males. Method Participants The participants were 20 CFP students whom are of first or second year at La Trobe University, Melbourne.
Participants of this experiment consisted of 6 males and 14 females. Ages range from 18 and above. All participants gave informed consent for participation in the study. They also had full disclosure of why these questionnaires were being conducted and how they were to be used in further data analysis. Materials Each participant received an attitude questionnaire which consisted of 10 statements representing the three attitude components scored on a 5 point Likert scale where 1 = SD (strongly disagree) and 5 = SA (strongly agree) to valuate their attitudes towards smoking. The attitude evaluation was tallied through each statement and there was a key to indicate the abbreviated letters for each response. Hence a high total score indicated a positive attitude while a low score indicated a negative attitude. Negatively worded statements (reverse score) were also used in the questionnaire to create diversity. Procedure Consent was obtained and the questionnaire completed as part of participation in the CFP psychology class.
Data collected consisted of gender designation and the 10 item questionnaire responses The instructions at the top of the questionnaire indicated each participant to choose which letter(s) best represent their feelings in terms of how strongly they agreed or disagreed with each statement. Participants were to not consult with others and work fairly quickly. The questionaries should have taken a maximum of five minutes to complete as participants were asked to choose the first answer that comes to mind. Results Table 1 Mean Difference Scores for Attitudes of Male and Females Group| Attitudes towards smoking| | N| M| SD| Male| 6| 17| 3. 34| Female| 14| 14. 64| 2. 13| Scores (range = 10 to 50) based on 6 male and 14 female participants resulted in the grand mean 15. 35 (std dev 3. 05) of the sample (n = 20) data reflected a tendency towards more negative attitudes with low scores indicating a negative attitude to smoking. The grand mean indicates the overall tallied score of the whole sample compared to the divided gender mean attitude scores for men and women (17, std dev 3. 34 and 14. 64, std dev= 2. 13). The mean difference scores for attitudes towards smoking are presented in Table 1.
Table 2 Independent T-test Scores for Attitudes of Male and Females Group| Attitudes towards smoking| | | T-statistic| df| p-value| Grand mean| Equal variance assumed| 1. 656| 18| 0. 115| 15. 35| Data for males and females were compared using independent t-test. An independent t-test is used to test for a difference between two independent groups in an assumed normal distribution to test the null hypothesis on whether there is difference/no difference between the groups. The independent t-test indicated no significant difference between the attitudes to smoking scores according to gender. (18) = 1. 656, p > . 05. See Table 2 The findings suggest that men and women display attitudes that are negative toward smoking but that there is no significant difference between men and women in the relative negativity of their scores. An analysis of the data found no significant gender differences on attitudes towards smoking, hence the hypothesis of females having a more positive attitude towards smoking than males was not supported. Discussion Overall, men and women had considerably negative attitudes towards smoking and these results were not affected by gender.
This was indicated by the results providing no significant difference between men and women in terms of their attitude towards smoking when placed through an independent t-test. The hypothesis of females having a more positive attitude towards smoking than males was not support within this study and varies in literature of this area. Attitudes within the female population have become increasingly more positive with past research conducted by Waldron (1991) concluding that smoking amongst women is becoming more socially acceptable and hence there is an increase in women’s smoking and attitudes.
Though relevant to males whom did not have the previous exposure to disapproval when smoking, the number of females and males has changed very little, with males still being the higher population of smokers (Haddad & Malakeh, 2002). The study findings suggest that despite concerns about the extent to which young people smoke, the attitude to smoking is largely negative. The study also suggests that gender differences are not prominent and that this may be due to the increasing equality of men and women in society. Clayton (2006) ontradicts this with research indicating gender differences have significant affective factors to warrant further attention to develop gender specific components of smoking prevention programs. As equality has risen in recent years, so has the balance of female and male smokers and hence it is a common and accepted behaviour (Nardini et al. , 1998). But this university sample may be unique and the participants in this study may be more educated and have had greater exposure to medical information regarding heath related issues associated with smoking.
Flay (1987) concludes that knowledge bases on smoking related health issues must be improved along with the building of science mass media promotion, which should be used to enforce these factors. This is due to with increased knowledge on smoking, the less likely a participant is willing to uptake smoking and increase tries to decrease number of smoking intake. These areas of health issues associated with smoking should be a main focus on the prevention of smoking related health issues and deaths.
This portrays the importance of how changing the increasing number of smoker’s behaviour is directly related to attitudes the population have towards smoking. A methodological limitation was that some questions were reported to be difficult for participants to understand led to contradictory responses to questions. This created some unreliability of the test materials. The small sample size was another limitation as was the relatively small sample of male participants. Due to these factors, the study may not be a representative sample of the general population and the findings should be interpreted with caution.
A larger sample of participants of equal gender and closer analysis of statements on questionnaire would increase reliability of study. A study onto general attitude towards smoking on a larger population without gender differencing could help concluded better ways into how to improve smoking cessation. This study has concluded that there is no significant difference in gender attitudes towards smoking, with participants generally interpreting a negative attitude. However this does not reflect the general population, in which smoking is still widely accepted.
A measure to deter this acceptance is through increase of knowledge on how smoking can led to health related issues and deaths, this can be ascertained through further research on general populations attitudes towards smoking. This needs to be done as more health related issues due to smoking rises due to people not knowing the full extent of damage it still causes. References Bush, J. , White, M. , Kai, J. , Rankin, J. , & Bhopal, R. (2003). Understanding influences on smoking in Bangladeshi and Pakistani adults: community based, qualitative study.
BMJ, 326 Clayton, S. (1991). Gender differences in psychosocial determinants of adolescent smoking. Journal of School Health, 61(3), 115-120 Fazio, R. H. , & Petty, R. E. (2008). Conceptualising attitudes. In R. H. Fazio, & R. E. Petty (pp. 1-5). Attitudes key readings: Their structure, and consequences. New York: Psychology Press. Flay, R. B. (1987). Mass media and smoking cessation: a critical review. American Journal of Public Health, 77(2), 153-160 Gazzaniga, M. S. , Heatherton, T. F. & Halpern, D. F. (2010). Psychological science (3rd ed. ). United states, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc Pirie, L. P. , Murray, M. D. , & Luepker, V. R. (1991). Gender differences in cigarette smoking and quitting in a cohort of young adults. American Public Health Association, 81(3), 324-327. Haddad, G. L. , Malak, Z. M. (2002), Smoking habits and attitudes towards smoking among university students in Jordan International. Journal of Nursing Studies, 39(8), 793-802 Nardini, S. , Bertoletti, R. Rastelli, V. , Ravelli, L. , & Donner, C. F. (1998). Personal smoking habit and attitude toward smoking among the health staff of a general hospital. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis, 53(1), 74-78 Sander, L. G. , & Xun, Z. (2004). Smoke: a global history of smoking. London: Reaktion Books. Slovic, P. (2010). The feeling of risk: new perspectives on risk perception. London: Earthscan Waldron, I. (1991). Patterns and causes of gender differences in smoking. Social Science & Medicine, 32(9), 989-1005.