UVM and VT Dept. of Health aim to recruit 1,000+ young Vermonters for two research initiatives
In 2019, investigating vaping and improving substance abuse prevention for young people were top priorities for Vermont health researchers. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, altering behavior in both areas. Armed with data from their 2019 pilot study of young Vermonters, a team of University of Vermont (UVM) and Vermont Department of Health behavioral and public health scientists are poised to take the pulse of this population in the environment of the “new normal.”
Earlier this spring, the PACE (Policy and Communication Evaluation) Vermont team, led by UVM Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychological Science Andrea Villanti, Ph.D., M.P.H., a member of the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, received funding (R21DA051943, U54DA036114) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, to conduct two studies: The PACE Vermont Study will assess perceptions and problems associated with vaping in youth and young adults, and the PACE Vape Messaging Study will focus on identifying effective vaping prevention messaging in Vermont young adults. The PACE Vermont team will be recruiting approximately 1,200 youth (aged 12-17) and young adults (aged 18-25) for these two research studies in summer 2020 via pacevt.org.
“The goal of the PACE Vermont Study is to inform substance use prevention in young Vermonters,” said Villanti. “Our online data collection system allows us to rapidly track changes in the environment that may impact substance use in young people. Our 2019 findings indicated that flavored cigarette and electronic vaping devices were a significant attraction for first-time users. Those findings coincided with concerns about the epidemic of vaping-related lung injury. This year, we are particularly concerned about the effects of COVID-19 on youth and young adults. We are grateful to be able to launch two studies to assess the impact of both on our young people.”
The PACE Vermont Study will enroll young Vermonters aged 12-25. Participants will complete three 10- to 15-minute online surveys over a six-month period. Participants will receive a $10 online gift card for each survey completed, plus a $20 bonus for completing all three surveys, for a total of $50. Parents need to first provide permission for their minor children to participate in the PACE Vermont Study. They will have access to the study’s progress and key findings on the PACE Vermont social media sites. Individual survey responses are confidential.
To be eligible to participate in the PACE Vape Messaging Study, Vermonters must be aged 18-24 years old. Participants will complete two brief 10- to 15-minute surveys over a one-month period. Participants will receive a $10 online gift card for completing the first survey and a $15 online gift card for completing the second, for a total of $25.
“These studies will provide timely and important data to inform prevention interventions and decision making,” according to Rhonda Williams, Chronic Disease Prevention Chief for the Vermont Department of Health. “The Health Department is excited to partner with UVM’s Center on Behavior and Health on these PACE studies.”