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STAC Parent Module Pilot Study

STAC Parent Module Pilot Study

Klein Buendel collaborator, Dr. Aida Midgett from Boise State University, presented formative research findings from her CTR-IN Pilot Grant at the Mountain West CTR-IN Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 17-18, 2022. Mountain West CTR-IN connects research investigators to mentors, collaborators, and funding opportunities to improve the health and lives of people in mountain west communities, including through research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. Ms. Mary Buller, President of Klein Buendel, is Dr. Aida’s mentor for the CTR-IN Pilot Grant.

Dr. Midgett presented on the “Development, Acceptability, and Short-Term Outcomes of a Parent Module for Brief, Bullying Bystander Intervention for Middle School Students in Rural, Low-Income Communities.” Her co-author was Dr. Diana Doumas from Boise State University. The project statistician was Ms. Laura Bond from Boise State University. The pilot study used a mixed-methods design to develop a 30-minute pre-recorded Parent Module as a companion training to a brief bullying prevention program for middle schools, called STAC. The study assessed the need, feasibility, acceptability, delivery format preference and immediate outcomes (e.g., knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions) of the Parent Module.

As background, the STAC bystander intervention is a 75-minute training that includes didactic and experiential components. It teaches middle school students to act as “defenders” on behalf of targets of bullying through utilizing four intervention strategies: (1) “Stealing the Show” – using humor or distraction to interrupt a bullying situation and remove the attention away from the target; (2) “Turning it Over” – identifying a trusted adult at school, reporting, and asking for help during a bullying incident; (3) “Accompanying Others” – befriending and/or providing support to a peer who was a target of bullying; and (4) “Coaching Compassion” – gently confronting the perpetrator and increasing empathy for the target.

Dr. Midgett reported that preliminary data with 23 parents in the pilot study demonstrated acceptability, relevance, and need and increases in immediate post-training outcomes including knowledge, confidence, self-efficacy, responsibility, and anti-bullying attitudes, as well as parents’ behavioral intentions to support their adolescents to utilize the STAC strategies.

Another aim of Dr. Midgett’s CTR-IN pilot grant is to provide data to support a STTR Fast Track proposal to develop and evaluate a web-based version of the Parent Module as a STAC companion training. The proposal will be submitted through Klein Buendel and the research plan will include a multi-site randomized trial in rural schools. Klein Buendel’s Creative Team will program the web-based Parent Module.

Media Literacy Case Study

Media Literacy Case Study

Dr. Barbara Walkosz from Klein Buendel, Ms. Tessa Jolls from the Center for Media Literacy, Dr. Marilyn Cohen from the University of Washington, and Mr. Michael Danielson from Action 4 Media Literacy presented timely media literacy research at the National Association of Media Literacy Education Conference (July 15-17, 2022). Their virtual presentation was entitled, “Media Literacy Policy Enactment and Implementation: A Case Study of Washington State.”

As the need for media literacy across societal sectors is well established, citizens, educators, and policymakers increasingly recognize the necessity for a citizenry to have the skills to be able critically analyze and create media content. Primarily since the U.S. elections of 2016 and 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, media literacy is taking its place center-stage as an essential element for sustaining a democratic and a healthy society. Although efforts for media literacy education policy adoption are encouraging at the national and state levels, once adopted, policies and programs are sparsely funded and often not institutionally supported for a sustained period.

The case study of the adoption and implementation of media literacy in the state of Washington offers insights into successful strategies for long-term enactment of media literacy education. Diffusion of Innovations Theory provides a theoretical framework to explain and understand the adoption and implementation processes and offers a promising framework for media literacy policy implementation in other contexts.

Training Cannabis Store Personnel in Responsible Vendor Practices

Training Cannabis Store Personnel in Responsible Vendor Practices

Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, participated in a panel discussion at the 45th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, June 25-29, in Orlando, Florida. He presented data and results from a recent study assessing and training cannabis store personnel in responsible vendor practices. In the wake of a great expansion of recreational cannabis, the prevention of harms related to polysubstance use has gathered attention as well. Specific and effective prevention strategies are needed. One potential approach borrows from alcohol prevention – responsible sales and service.

Regulations in all state recreational cannabis markets prohibit sales of marijuana products to customers under age 21 and in a few markets, sales to intoxicated customers. Using pseudo-patron methods, our team assessed sales to underage-appearing customers in recreational cannabis stores in Colorado and Washington State (175 stores) in 2016-17 and sales to apparently alcohol-intoxicated customers in stores in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State (150 stores) in 2018.

Refusal of underage-appearing pseudo-patrons were very frequent (92.6%). By comparison, refusal of apparently alcohol-intoxicated pseudo-patrons was infrequent in all three states (11.0%), even though Oregon state law explicitly prohibited it. An online survey of personnel from 59 stores in 2020 explored frequency of sales to these customers. Respondents indicated that underage customers attempted to enter stores frequently (66.1% several/many times) and customers entered stores who were intoxicated by alcohol (40.7%) or marijuana (44.1%). They often refused sales to customers (57.6% several/many times for any reason; 42.4% for being intoxicated). Management support was high for checking IDs (91.5% supported it a lot) but moderate for refusing to sell to customers appearing intoxicated (74.6%).

An online responsible marijuana vendor training created by Dr. Woodall and his collaborators from Klein Buendel and the Prevention Research Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) called “Train To Tend,” may have improved refusal to under-age customers at the entrances in stores that used it (trained stores: 65.9%, baseline, 82.5%, 3-month posttest, and 79.9%, 9-month posttest; untrained stores: 82.6%, 83.1%, 84.5% respectively), but did not seem to impact sales to intoxicated customers (intervention: 11.6%, control: 7.6%).

Deterrence due to state regulations or store policy for sales of cannabis products appears to be lower for sales to customers who appear intoxicated than underage customers in these cannabis markets. Training in responsible sales practices alone may not be successful when deterrence is low. Increasing deterrence may depend on regulators actively prioritizing the law to store licensees and monitoring compliance. Improve understanding of how regulatory policy and retail availability affect potential co-use of alcohol and cannabis in the legalized adult-use markets.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (DA038933; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Dr. Woodall’s Co-Investigators include Dr. Robert Saltz from the Prevention Research Center at PIRE and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel.

Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Alcohol Servers

Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Alcohol Servers

Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training has shown promise to reduce alcohol-related injury and mortality. The diffusion of RBS training is limited. Only 25 U.S. states require RBS training, while other states incentivize or have no RBS regulations. One diffusion limitation is that RBS training in the United Stated is typically offered in English from a mainstream culture point of view. 

Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. W. Gill Woodall, presented data on the systematic testing of a new Spanish language version of an evidence-based online RBS training program at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, May 30 to June 3, 2022 in Warsaw, Poland. WayToServe Español (WTS-E) is specifically tailored to Hispanic cultural beliefs, tastes, and experiences.

Spanish-speaking alcohol servers in Texas and New Mexico were involved in WTS-E development and evaluation. Focus groups and usability interviews were employed in systematic development. A randomized efficacy trial employed Spanish-speaking intoxicated pseudo-patron assessments of premises at baseline, 3 months, and 1 year post-training, with premises randomized to WTS-E or the usual RBS training. 

A randomized trial was conducted with 80 alcohol premises (40 onsite liquor by the drink premises, and 40 offsite package sales premises), with pseudo-intoxicated patron assessments at baseline, immediate post-intervention, and one-year follow-up. At baseline, the alcohol sales refusal was 21.6%, with a significant difference between states. The presentation examined the impact of a linguistically- and culturally-tailored online RBS training in Spanish-trading alcohol premises in two states with different alcohol RBS regulations. Implications for alcohol policy research were discussed.

The WTS-E research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD010405; Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). Collaborating co-authors on the presentation included Dr. Robert Saltz from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation; Dr. Frank Perez and Dr. Areli Chacon Silva from the University of Texas at El Paso; Dr. Victoria Sanchez and Dr. Randall Starling from the University of New Mexico; and Dr. David Buller, Jeannyfer Camacho Reither, Lila Martinez, and Marita Brooks from Klein Buendel.

Promoting Social Distancing and COVID-19 Vaccine Intentions

Promoting Social Distancing and COVID-19 Vaccine Intentions

Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel’s Director of Research, presented findings from a supplemental campaign to the Health Chat social media intervention for mothers and their teenage daughters at the 72nd Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Paris, France, May 26-30, 2022.

Dr. David Buller Presenting at ICA

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most severe public health crisis in the past 100 years. To control the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans to practice non-pharmaceutical interventions (social distancing) and federal and state governments mounted an unprecedented biomedical endeavor to develop and distribute vaccines and boosters.

Social media is playing a large role in disseminating information on the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is also being used to spread misinformation that affects prevention measures such as social distancing and vaccine acceptance.

A sample of 303 mothers of teen daughters were enrolled in a 3 (information source) x 4 (assessment period) randomized factorial trial from January to March 2021 to evaluate effects of information sources in a social media campaign addressing non-pharmaceutical interventions (social distancing), COVID-19 vaccinations, media literacy, and mother-daughter communication about COVID-19. Mothers received the 9-week campaign in one of three Facebook private groups in which posts contained information and links to government agencies, near-peer parents, or news media.

Mothers reported social distancing behavior and COVID-19 vaccine intentions for self and daughter in baseline and 3-, 6-, and 9-weeks post-randomization assessments.

In intent-to-treat analyses, social distancing behavior by mothers and daughters decreased over time but vaccine intentions increased. The decrease in social distancing by daughters was greater in the near-peer source group and lesser in the government source group. Higher perceived credibility of assigned information source increased social distancing and vaccine intentions. Decreasing case counts, relaxation of government restrictions, and vaccine distribution during the study may explain the decreased social distancing and increased vaccine intentions.

Campaign planners may be more effective when selecting information sources that audiences consider credible when promoting COVID-19 prevention as no source was more credible in general.

This research was funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors on this presentation include Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Joseph Divito, Christie Idiong, and Haley Troy from the University of Connecticut; Dr. Kim Henry from Colorado State University; Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University; and Dr. David Buller, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Dr. Gill Woodall, Julia Berteletti, and Alishia Kinsey from Klein Buendel.

Mothers’ Reactions to a COVID-19 Prevention Facebook Group

Mothers’ Reactions to a COVID-19 Prevention Facebook Group

Social media platforms have been a tool for disseminating recommendations and updates on COVID-19. Christie Idiong from the University of Connecticut presented qualitative findings from the COVID-19 Health Chat program at the 43rd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Baltimore, MD, April 6-9 2022.

The COVID-19 Health Chat program was a 9-week Facebook-delivered intervention to provide mothers of teenage daughters with messages promoting non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines, teaching digital and media literacy, and supporting family communication around COVID-19.

After the intervention, the research team conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 mothers. Mothers were asked: 1) “What did you like the most about being in the Facebook group?”, 2) “What did you like least?”, 3) “What did you think of the information sources used?”, and 4) “How would you compare the quality of the information you received in this Facebook group relative to other sources of information you’ve encountered during the pandemic?”.

Responses to each question were double coded and summarized. When asked what they liked most about the program, the most common response was the reliable information provided, followed by interacting with group members. When asked what they liked least, the most common responses indicated they did not dislike anything about the group, disliked extreme opinions from other mothers, and lacked interest in the information. When asked about sources used in the Facebook feed, the most common responses said sources were credible and helpful, followed by not recalling the sources, and sources being biased. When asked how the information in the group compared to other sources they encountered in the pandemic, most participants responded it was about the same or better quality, followed by not remembering the content. Most participants indicated that information they received was reliable, helpful, and of similar or better quality than what they had previously encountered.

Future research is needed to understand how individuals in the general population determine a source of information is reliable and how prevention communication on other health topics can be disseminated with similar success.

This research is funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors on this poster presentation include Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Christie Idiong, Joseph Divito, Kaylei Arcangel, and Haley Troy from the University of Connecticut; and Julia Berteletti, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Dr. Gill Woodall, Alishia Kinsey, and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel.

Indoor Tanning Policy and the Impact of COVID-19 on Tanning Facilities

Indoor Tanning Policy and the Impact of COVID-19 on Tanning Facilities

Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel presented findings from a study on U.S. indoor tanning legislation efforts related to reduced indoor tanning by minors at the 43rd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Baltimore, MD, April 6-9 2022.

Skin cancer is a significant and expensive public health problem, with approximately 5 million Americans treated at a cost of over $8 billion annually. Indoor tanning (IT) is a well-established cause of melanoma and keratinocyte carcinomas.

Julia Berteletti Presenting at SBM

IT is regulated in two main ways: states restricting minor access and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations to minimize harm. Since 2012, 22 states and the District of Columbia adopted IT bans for all minors, ten banned some minors by age, and 12 required parental consent/accompaniment, but six have no law, primarily due to failed legislation. Seven states proposed new legislation in 2021. Additionally, FDA regulations (e.g., protective eyewear, session duration) exist to minimize harm from IT devices.

Recent evidence suggests that more stringent laws (for example, age bans vs. parental consent laws) are associated with less youth IT. Policy enforcement provisions and compliance with policies are also essential components of effective IT policy implementation, but enforcement and compliance are currently variable and inadequate. We are currently coding 102 state IT law documents that were proposed, passed, or failed, and 4 accompanying regulatory documents, using a validated coding tool. Documents are being assessed for regulation stringency, type of ban, warnings provided, operator requirements, and enforcement provisions.

Additionally, results show that beginning in March, 2020, in addition to state-level mandates, there have been additional guidelines and restrictions for IT salons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  From March 2020 to April 2020, 49 states and the District of Columbia required salons to close to customers and reopened between April 2020 and December 2020 with varying restrictions, such as requiring appointments for services, requiring patrons to wear masks in public areas, and increasing ventilation in salons. Enforcement of these pandemic restrictions is unclear. Restrictions likely resulted in permanent salon closures and lower IT rates in 2020 but it is unknown how IT rates will be affected long-term, especially given the option for home tanning. Additional descriptive results of the policy coding and COVID-19 restrictions will be presented.

These data will help determine whether certain bill characteristics such as stringency or enforcement requirements are associated with law passage or not or bill stringency has increased over time, and the initial impact of the pandemic on IT policies. These findings will have implications for IT behavior and, ultimately, skin cancer incidence.

This research is funded by the National Cancer Institute (CA244370; Dr. Carolyn Heckman, Rutgers University, and Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors collaborating on this conference poster include Julia Berteletti and Allyson Montalvo from Klein Buendel; and Anna Mitarotondo from Rutgers University.

COVID-19 Social Media Feed for Mothers and Teen Daughters

COVID-19 Social Media Feed for Mothers and Teen Daughters

Social media is a key channel for information on COVID-19 from government agencies, near-peers, and news media. The Health Chat team developed a social media feed that varied type of information source in posts on social distancing, COVID-19 vaccines, digital and media literacy, and family communication. Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel presented findings from the COVID-19 social media feed at the 43rd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Baltimore, MD, April 6-9 2022.

A total of 303 mothers with adolescent daughters from a previous study testing a social media campaign on indoor tanning were recruited in January 2021 and enrolled in a randomized single-factor design (government agencies v. near-peer parents v. news media) of a 9-week Facebook feed with four assessments (baseline, 3-week, 6-week, and 9-week follow-ups). The feed contained five posts per week based on social cognitive theory, transportation theory, and diffusion of innovation theory. Mothers reported on social distancing and vaccine intentions for self and daughters.

Using intention-to-treat analyses, mothers’ reports of social distancing by self and daughter declined over the 9-weeks. Daughters’ social distancing declined faster in the near-peer condition but less quickly in the government condition. Vaccine intentions increased over the nine weeks in all experimental condition. Baseline intentions seemed to moderate effect of condition on change in intentions. Mothers with initially high vaccine intentions (relative to moderate intentions) assigned to the government condition reported a less steep increase in intentions over time and had slightly lower intentions to vaccinate at the end of the study. Baseline credibility of the assigned information source predicted increased vaccine intentions. However, in the near-peer condition, mothers who assigned them lower as opposed to higher credibility showed increased vaccine intentions.

Theory-based posts emphasizing information from government agencies may have provided credible counterarguments against local jurisdictions relaxing pandemic restrictions that slowed declines in daughters’ social distancing. The near-peer sources may have been influential with mothers who did not expect them to convey the credible arguments supporting vaccines which they did in the experimental feed, consistent with violations of expectations theory in persuasive communication.

This research is funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors on this presentation include Dr. Sherry Pagoto and Joseph Divito from the University of Connecticut; Dr. Kim Henry from Colorado State University; and Dr. David Buller, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Dr. Gill Woodall, Julia Berteletti, and Alishia Kinsey from Klein Buendel.

Dr. David Buller Presenting at SBM
Promoting Health Equity for Diverse Populations During a Pandemic

Promoting Health Equity for Diverse Populations During a Pandemic

Dr. Susan Loeb, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, from the Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing and College of Medicine – and an active Klein Buendel research collaborator – presented on promoting health equity during the COVID-19 pandemic at 34th Annual Scientific Session of the Eastern Nursing Research Society on March 31 through April 1, 2022 in Providence, Rhode Island. The theme of the conference was “Charting the Path of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Through Nursing Science.”

The interruption of face-to-face human subjects’ research by universities and correctional institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated researchers to adopt alternative approaches for proceeding with their work. Adaptations and strategies that the research team employed to keep their study progressing forward in meaningful ways despite a protracted public health emergency were presented. A study focusing on the research and development of highly interactive e-learning modules to prepare incarcerated people to assist corrections staff in caring for people are older and/or approaching the end of life in prison served as an exemplar for the presentation. The study – the Inmates Care Project – is an STTR grant awarded to Klein Buendel by the National Institute on Aging (AG057239; Dr. Susan Loeb and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Multiple Principal Investigators).

The theoretical framework for the study is the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Framework for Going to Full Scale. Identification of barriers and facilitators, re-envisioning how the team would restructure their day-to-day work, and preparing for the future are just a few of the essential steps that were taken. Examples of daily restructuring included a) approach to weekly team meetings; b) data collection protocols; c) advisory board meetings; and d) opportunities for networking and community building.

Key lessons learned through this experience included the a) importance of taking stock and seizing the opportunity to make investments in team member development; b) writing protocols that detail both in-person and virtual options for data collection to allow the team to pivot quickly when the next challenge arises; and c) reaching out to brainstorm with funding agency program officers, Institutional Review Board analysts, advisory board members, and other researchers from beyond your team.

Well-thought-out adaptations that are approved by funding agencies, offices of research protections, and other stakeholders in the research can result in scientifically sound, public health safe, and pragmatic approaches for moving ahead to remain research-productive, despite public health challenges. Taken together, these approaches can maintain study progress, and scientific integrity, as well as identify alternate ways to achieve study aims in a timeline necessarily relaxed, but as close as possible to the original plan.

Co-authors on the presentation and top poster included Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, Sherif Olanrewaju, and Leigh Casey from Penn State University; Dr. Valerie Myers and Savanna Olivas formerly from Klein Buendel; Jeannyfer Reither from Klein Buendel; and Katherine Aiken from the Penn State College of Health and Human Development.

Keeping Research Moving During a Pandemic

Keeping Research Moving During a Pandemic

Dr. Susan Loeb, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, from the Pennsylvania State University Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing – and an active Klein Buendel research collaborator – reflected on her research team’s experience in keeping research productive during the COVID-19 pandemic at the 17th Annual Custody & Caring Conference, November 4-5, 2021. The virtual conference was sponsored by the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

The cessation of face-to-face human subjects research by Universities and Departments of Corrections due to the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged researchers to seek alternative approaches for moving their work forward, albeit often not as originally conceived. Dr. Loeb’s presentation, and an accompanying award-winning poster led by Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis from the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing, reported experiences from the Inmates Care Project,an STTR grant awarded to Klein Buendel by the National Institute on Aging (AG057239; Dr. Susan Loeb and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Multiple Principal Investigators).

The Inmates Care study served as an exemplar to demonstrate strategies and adaptions employed to forge ahead in modified yet meaningful ways despite a protracted public health emergency. Inmates Care focuses on the research and development of computer-based training to prepare incarcerated persons to assist corrections staff in caring for people who have grown old behind bars and are approaching the end of their lives in prison. Identification of barriers and facilitators, re-envisioning how the team would restructure their day-to-day work, and preparing for the future were a few of the essential steps that were described.  

Key Lessons Learned

  • Seizing the opportunity to make investments in team member development;
  • Writing protocols that detail both in-person and virtual options for data collection to allow the team to pivot quickly when the next challenge arises; and
  • Reaching out to brainstorm with funding agency program officers, Institutional Review Board analysts, advisory board members, and other researchers beyond the team.

Such initiatives can result in scientifically sound, safe, and pragmatic solutions to keep research productive despite public health challenges. Taken together, these approaches can maintain study progress and scientific integrity, as well as identify alternate ways to achieve study aims in a timeline necessarily relaxed, but as close as possible to the original plan.

Co-authors on the presentation and 1st Place poster included Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, Sherif Olanrewaju, and Leigh Casey from Penn State University; Dr. Valerie Myers formerly from Klein Buendel; Jeannyfer Reither and Savanna Olivas from Klein Buendel; and Katherine Aiken from the Penn State College of Health and Human Development.

In addition to the paper and poster presentation, Dr. Loeb was also an invited panelist on a Closing Keynote titled, “Reflections on Forensic Mental Health and Correctional Nursing.”