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Body Image. 2005 Mar;2(1):19-28.

A prospective examination of body image and smoking cessation in women.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA 02325, USA.


This study prospectively examined body image in a community sample of women smokers (N = 141, 89% European-American, M age = 39.5, M BMI = 25.5) participating in a 12-week randomized smoking cessation trial. Participants completed measures assessing subjective and perceptual aspects of body image. Regression analyses showed that subjective body image was predictive of smoking rate at the end of treatment. A MANCOVA revealed that perceptual body image (body size estimation) significantly predicted smoking cessation. Quitting smoking actually worsened body image, although these results were no longer significant after controlling for weight gain. Results support the theory that a negative body image may hamper cessation attempts. In addition, weight gain during smoking cessation may adversely impact body image and lead to an increased risk for relapse.

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