Acceptability of computer assessments among ethnically diverse, low-income smokers

Am J Health Promot. 1999 May-Jun;13(5):299-304. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-13.5.299.


Purpose: To examine the acceptability of computer-based assessments among an ethnically diverse, low-income population of primary care patients. Although computers have been used to provide assessments and interventions in health care settings, members of ethnic minority and low-income households have less access to computers than other groups, and therefore the acceptability of computers as a health care assessment and delivery tool needs to be examined.

Design: We examined the acceptability of computers for providing assessments of smoking history, nicotine dependence, and other related variables among an ethnically diverse, low-income primary care population. No intervention was used in this study.

Setting: Three inner-city primary care clinics located in hospitals were used as sites for this study. These hospitals were located in areas of the city where low-income and ethnic minority households are overrepresented relative to the total population.

Subjects: Adult male and female smokers (n = 522) were recruited while awaiting appointments in each primary care clinic.

Measures: A questionnaire assessing smoking rate, patterns, history, motivation to quit smoking, and other smoking-related variables was administered using either a paper-and-pencil format or a laptop computer.

Results: Frequency counts, analysis of variance, and chi 2 tests were used where appropriate. Most subjects (78.5%) used the computer to complete the baseline survey. Almost all subjects (92%) rated the computer "very easy" or "easy" to use. Subjects who were Spanish-speaking, were born outside the United States, or were Hispanic tended to rate the program as slightly less easy to use than other subjects.

Conclusions: Computer-based assessments appear highly acceptable to individuals in low-income populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Computer Literacy
  • Computers*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / methods*
  • Poverty*
  • Smoking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population