Smoking Desistance and Personality Change in Emerging and Young Adulthood

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Abstract

Introduction:

We attempted to replicate and extend (Welch, P., & Poulton, R. [2009]. Personality influences on change in smoking behavior. Health Psychology, 28, 292–299. doi:10.1037/a0013471) findings regarding the relationship between smoking involvement and personality change.

Methods:

Two time frames (18–25, 18–35) in a cohort of college students (N = 489 at baseline) followed for 17 years were used. Impulsivity, neuroticism, and 4 measures of smoking involvement were assessed at each time point.

Results:

Individuals who desisted in smoking involvement tended to exhibit the largest decreases in neuroticism and impulsivity from ages 18 to 25. From ages 18 to 35, changes in smoking involvement were only significantly associated with changes in impulsivity.

Conclusions:

These findings add to the literature demonstrating decreasing neuroticism, and impulsivity correlates with decreased substance involvement during emerging adulthood.

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