Nicotine withdrawal symptoms following a quit attempt: An ecological momentary assessment study among adolescents

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Abstract

Introduction

The present study describes growth curves of withdrawal symptoms among 138 daily smoking adolescents before, during, and after a quit attempt.

Methods

Participants reported their levels of withdrawal symptoms (craving, negative affect, and hunger) three times a day over a period of 28 days: 1 week prior to and 3 weeks following a quit attempt.

Results

All withdrawal symptoms were quite stable at a relatively low level during the 5 days prior to the quit day. At Day 8, withdrawal symptoms (especially craving) increased substantially. A significant decrease in symptoms was visible during the week following the quit day, and within 2 weeks postquit, both abstinent and relapsed adolescents had reverted to levels comparable to those during the prequit period. The course over time for craving and hunger were best described by a quadratic term, and a linear model best suited negative affect. Individual intercepts and slopes of the growth curves were used to predict abstinence during the last week of the study and at the 2-month follow-up. Analyses revealed that higher levels of craving at the beginning of the prequit week and on the target quit day (intercepts) decreased the odds of being abstinent during the last week of the study. In addition, the quadratic term for hunger predicted abstinence during the last week. Finally, among all three symptoms, none of the growth model characteristics predicted abstinence at follow-up.

Discussion

The findings generally suggest that smoking cessation among daily smoking adolescents does not largely depend on how their withdrawal symptoms evolve over time after achieving abstinence.

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