International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 10 Num. 3 - October 2010


Measuring Adolescents? Smoking-related Social Identity Preferences with the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) for the First Time: A Starting Point that Explains Later IRAP Evolutions

Volume 10 Num. 3 - October 2010 - Pages 453-474


Nigel Vahey , Shawn Boles , Dermot Barnes-Holmes


This preliminary study is the first to illustrate the conceptual rationale for, and methodological potential of, an Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure designed to measure adolescents? smoking-related social identity preferences (SIP-IRAP). Even with a small sample comprising of eight adolescent smokers and eight nonsmokers, the IRAP data tentatively suggested that adolescent smokers have a tendency to relate the sample word ?Smoker? as ?Similar? to social acceptance words, but adolescent nonsmokers do not. The IRAP further distinguished smokers from nonsmokers by their tendency to relate ?Nonsmoker? as ?Similar? to social rejection words. The current study, in its presentation of an uncomplicated ?preparation-IRAP? for participants to rehearse before taking the SIP-IRAP, constitutes the earliest attempt to optimise participant performance on the original IRAP methodology. Given that the raison d?etre of the IRAP is to continually optimise experimental control over the measurement of verbal biases, we use the current study as a basis for explicating the chronology and evolving rationale for subsequent evolutions of the IRAP methodology currently entering the literature. A central aim of our account is to use IRAP first principles to collate and interpret such recent optimisations of the IRAP methodology, in order to recommend how best to use the IRAP in future investigations probing the verbal networks of adolescent smokers. The current preliminary study particularly emphasized the importance for optimising the precision of the IRAP, of using adjunctive participant preparation procedures. The current paper suggests how with optimizations, the IRAP is likely to provide additional predictive utility over self-report measures for adolescents, particularly when applied to relatively stigmatized or impulsive behaviours.

Key words:

Adolescents, Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure, smoking, social identity, Relational Frame Theory.

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