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Br J Soc Clin Psychol. 1977 Nov;16(4):329-36.

Smokers, non-smokers and the attribution of addiction.


Questionnaries concerned with attitudes towards cigarette smoking were completed by 368 respondents who were taking part in a survey of audience reactions to one week's television programmes. Cigarette smokers were asked how difficult it would be for them to give up cigarettes, whether they would like to do so, whether they felt they were addicted to cigarettes, and how often a cigarette gave them real pleasure. Non-smokers were asked parallel questions to determine their perceptions of the average cigarette smoker. In comparison to how smokers saw themselves, non smokers saw the average smoker as more addicted, and as deriving less pleasure from cigarettes. Smokers who saw themselves as more addicted felt it would be more difficult for them to give up, smoked more cigarettes per day, said they would like to give up more, and derived somewhat more pleasure from cigarettes. Among those who had never smoked cigarettes, the attribution of addiction to the average smoker was related only to perceived difficulty of giving up. Lesser self-attributed addiction was also relevant to the prediction of which smokers claimed to be trying to reduce or give up smoking. Implications of these data for attribution theory, and for health education, are discussed.

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