Date of Conferral





Public Health


Manoj Sharma


After alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, areca or betel nut is the 4th most common substance of abuse in the world, and its prevalence of use in the Solomon Islands is estimated at 68% in young people. Long-term use of betel nut can result in detrimental health outcomes such as oral cancers and metabolic syndrome. Guided by the social cognitive theory (SCT), the purpose of this quantitative cross-sectional study was to determine whether the constructs of SCT predict betel nut use in Year 12 secondary students in the Solomon Islands. Five SCT constructs of expectations (outcome expectations and outcome expectancies), self-efficacy, self-efficacy to overcome barriers, self-control, and environment were used to build a model for the study. Data were collected from a convenience quota sample of 138 Year 12 secondary students through a 37-item questionnaire. Results from multiple linear regression and multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that only self-efficacy to overcome barriers (p < .01) was significantly related to intent to not chew betel nut. SCT was weakly predictive with low explained variance for not chewing betel nut in secondary students. Findings contribute to social change by being useful for school health program developers and researchers working on strategies to improve intervention actions to reduce betel nut use.