Will Delay Discounting Predict Intention to Quit Smoking?

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Intention to quit cigarette smoking is significantly associated with making quitting attempts and actual quitting. Delay discounting is significantly associated with smoking initiation and success in quitting. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated the relationship between delay discounting and intention to quit smoking. In 2 separate observational, cross-sectional studies, the current investigation examines the relationship between delay discounting and intention to quit smoking within groups of smokers. Experiment 1 used data collected online and an adjusting-delay discounting task; Experiment 2 used data collected in the laboratory and an adjusting-amount discounting task. A total of 242 participants and 142 participants completed the online and on laboratory experiments, respectively. In both studies, participants with higher intention to quit smoking had significantly lower rates of discounting. These associations between intention to quit smoking and rates of delay discounting further support recent characterizations of delay discounting as a candidate behavioral marker of addiction. Understanding cognitive factors affecting treatment initiation such as intention to change, and the effects of delay discounting on these factors, in addition to the mechanisms by which they influence treatment outcomes might be essential to developing, disseminating, and implementing treatment interventions.

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