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Addict Behav. 2014 Aug;39(8):1231-4. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.03.024. Epub 2014 Apr 5.

PTSD symptomatology and readiness to quit smoking among women with serious mental illness.

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  • 1Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, United States.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, United States.
  • 3Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, United States. Electronic address:



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a risk factor for tobacco addiction. The majority of research on PTSD and smoking has been conducted with men, particularly combat veterans, and little is known about the association among women. In a clinical sample of women civilian smokers with serious mental illness (SMI), we examined the prevalence of PTSD symptomatology and associations with physical and mental health functioning, co-occurring substance use, nicotine dependence, and readiness to quit smoking.


376 adult women smokers aged 18-73 were recruited from 7 acute inpatient psychiatry units and screened by diagnostic interview for current PTSD symptomatology (PTSD(+)). In multiple regressions, we examined the associations of screening PTSD(+) with physical and mental health functioning; past-month drug use; past-year substance use disorders; nicotine dependence and readiness to quit smoking.


Nearly half the sample (43%) screened PTSD(+), which was significantly associated with the use of stimulants (OR=1.26) and opiates (OR=1.98), drug use disorders (OR=2.01), and poorer mental health (B=-2.78) but not physical health functioning. PTSD(+) status was unrelated to nicotine dependence, but predicted greater desire to quit smoking (B=2.13) and intention to stop smoking in the next month (OR=2.21). In multivariate models that adjusted for substance use disorders, physical and mental health functioning, and nicotine dependence, screening PTSD(+) remained predictive of greater desire and intention to quit smoking.


PTSD symptomatology was common in our sample of women smokers with SMI and associated with not only worse substance use and mental health, but also greater readiness to quit smoking, suggesting the need for and potential interest in integrative PTSD-addiction treatment among women.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Mental illness; PTSD; Smoking; Stage of change; Substance use; Women

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[Available on 2015-08-01]
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