Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Cognitive-Based Smoking Processes Among Trauma-Exposed, Treatment-Seeking Smokers: The Role of Dysphoria

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Abstract

Objectives:

Despite the co-occurrence and clinically significant relationship between trauma exposure and smoking, there is little understanding of the mechanisms underlying the posttraumatic stress symptoms-smoking relationship. This study examined whether dysphoria (ie, a psychopathologic symptom dimension that reflects depression's core affective, cognitive, and psychomotor features) accounted for the covariance between posttraumatic stress symptom severity and an array of smoking processes among trauma-exposed daily smokers.

Methods:

Participants (n = 189; 47.6% female; Mage = 41.15; SD = 12.47) were trauma-exposed, treatment-seeking daily cigarette smokers who completed measures of posttraumatic stress symptom severity, dysphoria, and 4 cognitive-based smoking processes that interfere with smoking cessation—avoidance/inflexibility to smoking, perceived barriers to smoking cessation, negative affect reduction motivation for smoking, and negative affect reduction/negative reinforcement expectancies from smoking.

Results:

Dysphoria indirectly and significantly accounted for the relationship between posttraumatic stress symptom severity and smoking outcomes.

Conclusions:

The present results provide initial empirical support that dysphoria accounts for the covariance between posttraumatic symptom severity and various clinically relevant smoking variables in trauma-exposed, treatment-seeking smokers. The findings suggest the potential importance of targeting dysphoria during smoking cessation among trauma-exposed individuals.

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