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The authors examined the moderating role of goal cognitions in the process of nicotine dependence in young adult smokers. A college sample of 85 male and 78 female smokers completed measures of nicotine dependence and psychological distress. They also provided cognitive evaluations for goals related to smoking cessation on scales measuring self-efficacy, value, planning, self-reward, self-criticism, self-monitoring, social comparison, and positive and negative goal-based arousal. As has been previously established, depression had a direct and significant effect on nicotine dependence. Moreover, significant interactions between goal cognitions and depression provided evidence for the hypothesized moderating effect.