Heart, body, and soul: Impact of church-based smoking cessation interventions on readiness to quit

Carolyn C. Voorhees, Frances A. Stillman, Robert T. Swank, Patrick J. Heagerty, David M. Levine, Diane M. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Background. Given the relatively low spontaneous quit rates and poor treatment outcomes among African American smokers, this study was designed to evaluate the effects of a multimodal culturally relevant intervention for smoking behavior change compared with a self-help strategy among urban African Americans in Baltimore churches. Method. This randomized controlled trial in urban African American churches used the stages of change model to compare the effectiveness of two interventions in moving smokers along a continuum toward smoking cessation. Twenty-two churches were randomly assigned to either an intensive culturally specific intervention or a minimal self-help intervention. Smokers were interviewed at baseline church health fairs and at a 1-year follow-up. Self-reported quitters at follow-up were evaluated using saliva cotinine and exhaled carbon monoxide levels (CO). Stages of change were measured by applying a standardized stages of change instrument to individual interview response sequences. Analysis compared the two intervention groups at 1-year follow-up with baseline stages. Outcomes included quit rates and positive progress along the stages of change. Results. Multiple logistic regression results, controlling for intrachurch correlation and demographic and baseline smoking characteristics, showed that the multimodal cultural intervention group was more likely to make positive progress along the stages of change continuum, compared with the self-help intervention group (OR = 1.68; P = 0.04). Church denomination and intervention status interacted in the multivariate model; Baptists in the intensive intervention were three times (OR = 3.23; P = 0.010) more likely to make progress than all the other denomination groups. Conclusion. The multimodal culturally relevant intervention was more likely than a self-help intervention to positively influence smoking behavior. This is the first community-based intervention study to report progress along the stages of change as a process oriented measure of success. It is notable that a spiritually based model focusing on environmental sanctions was more likely than a standard church disseminated self-help intervention to positively influence smoking behavior in an urban African American population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996


  • community-based intervention
  • evaluation
  • smoking cessation
  • stages of change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Heart, body, and soul: Impact of church-based smoking cessation interventions on readiness to quit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this