Predictors of Urge to Smoke Under Stressful Conditions: An Experimental Investigation Utilizing the PASAT-C Task to Induce Negative Affect in Smokers

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Abstract

Experimental evidence has demonstrated that the presence of cues previously associated with smoking behavior can increase urges to smoke in abstinent smokers. This study examined the effect of a laboratory-induced negative affective task (paced auditory serial addition task) on smoking urges among a sample of 35 abstinent college smokers (Mage = 20.83 years, SD = 1.71). Emotional states and physiological reactions experienced during the experiment, as well as individual differences in stress intolerance (anxiety sensitivity and experiential avoidance) were examined as predictors of the association between stressful states and smoking cravings. Smoking urges (smoking desire and negative affect relief) and negative emotions (frustration, irritability, stress) significantly increased, whereas positive emotions decreased from pre- to posttask. No significant interactions between individual differences and changes in urge were found. Results suggest that changes in negative affect may in part explain the association between induced stress and smoking cravings.

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