Adolescents' expectancies for smoking to regulate affect predict smoking behavior and nicotine dependence over time

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Sep 1;111(1-2):128-135. 
Authors: Heinz AJ, Kassel JD, Berbaum M, Mermelstein R.

From the accepted, unedited manuscript:

Aims: Mounting evidence suggests that individuals smoke, in part, to regulate affective experience (e.g., tension reduction, mood enhancement). Implicit in such motives is the expectancy or belief that smoking will decrease negative affect and increase positive affect. The contribution of cognitively-driven expectancies to the initiation and continuation of smoking during adolescence remains largely uninvestigated. The current study examined the influence of negative affect relief expectancies (NAREs) for smoking on smoking behavior and nicotine dependence using longitudinal data from a study on the emotional and social contexts of youth smoking.

Methods: Participants were 568 adolescents with smoking experience (mean age 15.67, 56.7% female). Three separate mixed regression models were estimated to determine the relative contribution of NAREs to smoking behavior and nicotine dependence measured at 4 time points over 2 years.

Results: NAREs for smoking influenced all smoking outcomes at baseline and predicted increases in smoking behavior and nicotine dependence over time, even after controlling for anxious and depressive symptoms and baseline nicotine dependence.

Conclusions: Outcome expectancies for affect management emerged as an important risk factor for smoking escalation and the development of nicotine dependence during adolescence. The present findings highlight the potential importance of cognitively-driven expectancies as a risk factor for smoking escalation during this critical developmental period.

See full text via PubMed.

Learn about related research.