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Using self-affirmation to increase the effects of emotive health warnings on smoking: A randomised exploratory trial


Memish, KE and Schuz, N and Frandsen, M and Ferguson, SG and Schuz, B, Using self-affirmation to increase the effects of emotive health warnings on smoking: A randomised exploratory trial, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 19, (10) pp. 1238-1242. ISSN 1469-994X (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Author

DOI: doi:10.1093/ntr/ntw167


Aims: This study tests whether enhancing a currently used emotive graphic smoking health warning with a self-affirmation component reduces cigarette consumption, and whether potential effects are stronger in heavier smokers, as suggested by previous research.

Methods: Participants (n = 265) were randomly allocated to a self-affirmation (reflecting on personal values and positive traits using a questionnaire) or matched control condition before viewing an emotive graphic health message from a current Australian government public health campaign. The primary outcome (cigarettes per day [CPD]) was assessed both before, and a week following, the intervention.

Results: No main effect of self-affirmation on smoking, but as hypothesised, a significant interaction between baseline smoking and self-affirmation was found that showed that heavier smokers (> 21 CPD) who self-affirmed significantly reduced CPD compared to non-affirmed smokers.

Conclusions: These findings support the use of self-affirmation to enhance smoking awareness campaigns in heavier smokers.

Implications: This study shows that enhancing emotive graphic smoking health messages with self-affirmation (the act of reflecting on positive aspects of oneself), increases their effectiveness in heavier smokers. This suggests that self-affirmation might be a particularly useful tool for health promotion targeting heavier smokers. This study adds to previous research in that it is the first to test the add-on effects of self-affirmation to current graphic health messages on smoking rather than smoking-related cognitions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:smoking, smoking cessation, health warnings, cigarettes, continuing professional development
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Preventative health care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Memish, KE (Miss Kate Memish)
UTAS Author:Schuz, N (Dr Natalie Schuez)
UTAS Author:Frandsen, M (Dr Mai Frandsen)
UTAS Author:Ferguson, SG (Professor Stuart Ferguson)
UTAS Author:Schuz, B (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:109913
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-07-07
Last Modified:2018-03-06
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