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Stimulus control in intermittent and daily smokers


Shiffman, S and Dunbar, MS and Ferguson, SG, Stimulus control in intermittent and daily smokers, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24, (9) pp. 847-855. ISSN 0893-164X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association

DOI: doi:10.1037/adb0000052


Many adult smokers are intermittent smokers (ITS) who do not smoke daily. Prior analyses have suggested that, compared with daily smokers (DS), ITS smoking was, on average, more linked to particular situations, such as alcohol consumption. However, such particular associations assessed in common across subjects may underestimate stimulus control over smoking, which may vary across persons, due to different conditioning histories. We quantify such idiographic stimulus control using separate multivariable logistic regressions for each subject to estimate how well the subject’s smoking could be predicted from a panel of situational characteristics, without requiring that other subjects respond to the same stimuli. Subjects were 212 ITS (smoking 4–27 days/month) and 194 DS (5–30 cigarettes daily). Using ecological momentary assessment, subjects monitored situational antecedents of smoking for 3 weeks, recording each cigarette in an electronic diary. Situational characteristics were assessed in a random subset of smoking occasions (n = 21,539), and contrasted with assessments of nonsmoking occasions (n = 26,930) obtained by beeping subjects at random. ITS showed significantly stronger stimulus control than DS across all context domains: mood, location, activity, social setting, consumption, smoking context, and time of day. Mood and smoking context showed the strongest influence on ITS smoking; food and alcohol consumption had the least influence. ITS smoking was under very strong stimulus control; significantly more so than DS, but DS smoking also showed considerable stimulus control. Stimulus control may be an important influence on maintaining smoking and making quitting difficult for all smokers, but especially among ITS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:stimulus control, environmental cues, ecological momentary assessment, ambulatory assessment, nondaily smoking, daily smoking
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ferguson, SG (Professor Stuart Ferguson)
ID Code:99518
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2015-03-26
Last Modified:2017-11-03

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