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Distinct coping strategies differentially predict urge levels and lapses in a smoking cessation attempt

, : Distinct coping strategies differentially predict urge levels and lapses in a smoking cessation attempt. Addictive Behaviors 38(6): 2224-2229

This study analysed mechanisms through which stress-coping and temptation-coping strategies were associated with lapses. Furthermore, we explored whether distinct coping strategies differentially predicted reduced lapse risk, lower urge levels, or a weaker association between urge levels and lapses during the first week of an unassisted smoking cessation attempt. Participants were recruited via the internet and mass media in Switzerland. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) with mobile devices was used to assess urge levels and lapses. Online questionnaires were used to measure smoking behaviours and coping variables at baseline, as well as smoking behaviour at the three-month follow-up. The sample consisted of 243 individuals, aged 20 to 40, who reported 4199 observations. Findings of multilevel regression analyses show that coping was mainly associated with a reduced lapse risk and not with lower urge levels or a weaker association between urge levels and lapses. Calming down and commitment to change predicted a lower lapse risk and also a weaker relation between urge levels and lapses. Stimulus control predicted a lower lapse risk and lower urge levels. Conversely, task-orientation and risk assessment were related to higher lapse risk and risk assessment also to higher urge levels. Disengagement coping i.e. eating or shopping , distraction , and mobilising social support did not affect lapse risk. Promising coping strategies during the initial stage of smoking cessation attempt are targeted directly at reducing the lapse risk and are characterised by engagement with the stressor or one's reactions towards the stressor and a focus on positive consequences instead of health risks. Coping styles were differentially associated with the smoking cessation process. Coping was mainly related to a lower lapse risk and not to lower urge levels. Stimulus control predicted a lower lapse risk and a lower urge level. Calming down and commitment to change predicted a lower lapse risk. Disengagement coping was not associated with the lapse process.


PMID: 23501139

DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.02.001

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