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Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Feb;9(2):185-94.

Expressive writing as a smoking cessation treatment adjunct for young adult smokers.

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  • 1Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.


This investigation evaluated the efficacy of expressive writing as a treatment adjunct to a brief office smoking cessation intervention plus nicotine patch therapy in young adults. Participants aged 18-24 years were randomized to a brief office intervention (n=99) or to an expressive writing plus brief office intervention (n=97). Both conditions received four individual visits plus 6 weeks of nicotine patch therapy, which began on the quit date following the week 2 visit. Participants in the expressive writing plus brief intervention condition wrote for 2 consecutive days before and 3 consecutive days after the quit date. The brief office intervention group completed a control writing assignment. At end of treatment (week 8), biochemically confirmed 7-day point-prevalence abstinence for the expressive writing plus brief office intervention condition was significantly greater than for the brief office condition (33% vs. 20%, p=.043, OR=2.0, 95% CI=1.0-3.7, from a logistic regression adjusting for gender). At 24 and 52 weeks, abstinence rates were similar for the brief office intervention versus expressive writing plus brief office intervention (12% vs. 11% at 24 weeks; 11% vs. 11% at 52 weeks). The results suggest that expressive writing has promise as a smoking cessation treatment adjunct for young adults. Lengthier interventions or the use of boosters should be tested to extend treatment effects. However, participants reported a low level of enthusiasm for the expressive writing, which may be a barrier to implementing it over a longer time frame. Therefore, other modes of delivering expressive writing to young adult cigarette smokers should be explored.

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