The motivational effects of thinking and worrying about the effects of smoking cigarettes

McCaul, Kevin D. and Mullens, Amy and Romanek, Kathleen M. and Erickson, Shannon C. and Gatheridge, Brian J. (2007) The motivational effects of thinking and worrying about the effects of smoking cigarettes. Cognition and Emotion, 21 (8). pp. 1780-1798. ISSN 0269-9931


We tested a strategy to encourage cigarette smokers to think more frequently about the negative consequences of smoking, reasoning that increased thought might lead to greater worry and motivation to quit. College students who smoked daily were randomly assigned to one of three conditions in which they wore watches for one week that sounded an alarm randomly four times each day. When alerted, the students read one of eight cards that either had a written statement about studying (control condition), a statement about the negative effects of smoking behaviour (text condition), or a negative smoking statement accompanied by a picture (e.g., a blackened lung; image condition). Measures collected at week's end revealed that the smoking cards had no effects on perceived risk, but they increased worry and reports of intrusive thoughts, and had a small but reliable effect on plans to quit. Correlational data also supported the relationship between worry and motivation to quit, and we discuss the possible benefits of 'normal' worrying and strategies for capitalising on the worry–motivation relationship to encourage smokers to abandon cigarettes.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 23:47
Last Modified: 20 May 2016 00:22
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/02699930701442840

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