Assessment of community-level influences on individuals' attitudes about cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and consumption of dietary fat

Am J Prev Med. 1993 Mar-Apr;9(2):78-84.


A basic premise of community-based health promotion is that enduring changes in health behaviors are facilitated by changing community norms or the standards of acceptable behavior in the community. We examine whether community-level influences on individuals' normative attitudes can be related to cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and dietary fat intake. We conducted a random-digit dialing survey of 8,849 adults in 15 communities in the western United States as part of the evaluation of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Community Health Promotion Grant Program. We found independent associations among attitudes for tobacco, alcohol, and diet and both individual-level and community-level characteristics. A significant community effect on attitudes remained even when we controlled for individual demographics and health behaviors, as well as for the overall prevalence of the target health behavior in the community. The specific community characteristics that account for this effect were not clear in our analyses, suggesting that influential characteristics vary from community to community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Dietary Fats