Learning Objectives: Identify reasons why helpseekers may not opt for telephone counseling.
Abstract: It is not clear why many callers (46%) to the California Smokersí Helpline (CSH) choose self-help materials rather than more intensive telephone counseling. This study examined baseline data from a random selection of callers opting for self-help materials (SH) (n=1,104) and compared them to CSH callers who chose telephone counseling (C) (n=6,617). SH helpseeking attitudes and quitting behavior were studied over the year following intervention.
At baseline, SH and C were similar on confidence about quitting and readiness to quit within a week, but differed on number of cigarettes smoked per day (20 and 22 respectively, p<.0001). SH outcome data revealed that 11% were continuously abstinent for 12 months following the self-help intervention. The main reasons for not choosing counseling were: not ready to quit smoking (12.5%), no time for counseling (18%), and not wanting or needing counseling (46%).
Similarities between SH and C suggest that some SH may opt for counseling at a later date when they are ready to quit or have available time; postcard reminders might prove useful. But a substantial number did not see the benefit of counseling, suggesting the need for alternative interventions. Less intensive interventions such as tailored letters or an interactive website might be more useful for this group.
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