An Explanatory Model of Variables Influencing Health Promotion Behaviors in Smoking and Nonsmoking College Students


  • Angela Maria Martinelli D.N.Sc., R.N., CNOR

    1. Angela M. Martinelli is a Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Public Health Service, and a Nurse Consultant, Division of Nursing, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland.
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Address correspondence to Dr. Angela M. Martinelli, Nurse Consultant, Division of Nursing, Parklawn Building, Room 9–36, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. E-mail:


College students can establish healthy lifestyle practices that can have lifelong implications. Many students, however, continue to engage in risky behaviors such as active and passive smoking. The purpose of this study was to test an explanatory model of variables which can influence health promotion behaviors in smoking and nonsmoking college students. Pender's Health Promotion Model provided the framework for the study. Health promotion behaviors were found to be most effective when students: had an increased self-efficacy, avoided environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), perceived themselves as healthy, were female, and had a powerful external and internal health locus of control. College students may benefit from health promotion interventions designed to influence the avoidance of ETS and alter perceptions of self-efficacy, control of health, and health status. Such interventions may result in a decrease in both active and passive smoking.