A mixed methods study exploring how physical activity may be incorporated into a cessation intervention to best support youth experiencing homelessness in the quit process.

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The Ohio State University

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Introduction/Significance: Seventy percent of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness (YYEH), aged 14-24 years old, smoke combusted commercial tobacco--a smoking prevalence 2.5 times higher than housed peers. The purpose of this study is to consider how physical activity may be incorporated into cessation intervention to meet the needs of YYEH. Methods: This study used a mixed methods design using secondary data collected at a drop-in center for YYEH in a midwestern city. For the quantitative data, the aim of the univariable analysis was to understand if there were differences in tobacco use and psychosocial factors between YYEH who used the gym at the drop-in center and those that did not. Through focus groups, qualitative data was collected to understand thoughts about implementation of cessation interventions. The aim of the qualitative analysis was to understand how youth were mentioning sports and physical activity so it could be incorporated into targeted cessation intervention design. Results: Samples for this study included YYEH using combusted tobacco products in the past week (Quantitative: N=96, Qualitative: N=45). Quantitative results indicated individuals that used electronic vaping products used the gym less frequently (p=0.04). Individuals older (p=0.04), identifying as straight (p=0.02), and identifying as male (p<0.01) used the gym more frequently. No differences in distribution of psychosocial factors by participants’ use of gym. In the qualitative analysis, YYEH mentioned smoking at drop-in shelters due to lack of activities, using smoking as a de-stressor. YYEH mentioned that having an individual, like a personal trainer would be helpful. Conclusion: Qualitative findings revealed YYEH asked for organized sports to socialize in a sober, reduced stress environment and to develop a relationship with “a wellness coach” who could act as a personal trainer in the gym and aid their cessation journey. We concluded that no significant differences in psychosocial factors and use of gym may be because youth were asked about their individual use of the gym at the drop-in center. Just having a gym available is not enough to benefit all youth, it is necessary to focus social engagement through physical activity to aid the cessation process.



Smoking Cessation, Physical Activity, Substance Use, Youth, Homelessness, Mixed Methods