Interaction of Depressive Symptoms and Smoking Abstinence on Delay Discounting Rates

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Delay discounting and depressive symptomatology have strong connections with smoking. However, few studies have examined interactions across delay discounting, depressive symptoms, and smoking status. The primary goal of this secondary analysis was to assess the interrelations across these 3 variables among treatment-seeking smokers. Delay discounting and depressive symptoms were assessed in 95 smokers enrolled in a clinical trial for smoking cessation at intake and 6-month follow-up. Participants with and without depressive symptoms did not differ in their discounting rates neither at intake nor at 6-month follow-up. However, delay discounting was significantly lower among abstainers at 6-month follow-up, and changes in discounting associated with smoking status were more pronounced among participants with depressive symptoms. These results clarify the relationship between delay discounting and depressive symptoms among current and former smokers and suggest that the association between smoking abstinence and lower delay discounting is significantly greater among individuals with depressive symptoms versus those who do not have depressive symptomatology.

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