Using Ecological Momentary Assessment to Identify Common Smoking Situations Among Korean American Emerging Adults

Prev Sci. 2016 Oct;17(7):892-902. doi: 10.1007/s11121-016-0687-7.


The present study provides detailed contextual information about smoking habits among young Korean American smokers with the goal of characterizing situations where they are most at risk for smoking. Relevant situational factors included location, social context, concurrent activities, time of day, affective states, and food and beverage consumption. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) over 7 days, participants (N = 78) were instructed to respond to smoking prompts (n = 2614) and non-smoking prompts (n = 2136) randomly scheduled throughout the day. At each prompt, participants completed a short survey about immediate contextual factors. We used multilevel models to evaluate the association between contextual factors and smoking and further explored the distribution of smoking locations and concurrent activities across each social context and reason for smoking. Compared to non-smoking events, smoking events were associated with being outside, the presence of Korean friends, socializing, consuming alcohol, and experiencing more stress relative to one's average stress level (all ps < .01). Further analyses involving only smoking events showed that when participants smoked alone, they were most commonly at home (50 %) and most often studying/working (28 %). When smoking with Korean friends, participants were most often outside (38 %) and socializing (54 %). When smoking to reduce craving, participants were most often at home (39 %) and studying/working (25 %). To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide detailed descriptions of real-time smoking contexts among young Korean American smokers. Information with this level of granularity is needed to develop effective just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs) for smoking cessation.

Keywords: Ecological momentary assessment; Emerging adults; Smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans*
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Republic of Korea
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult