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Psychol Addict Behav. 2010 Sep;24(3):446-52. doi: 10.1037/a0018545.

Practicing self-control lowers the risk of smoking lapse.

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Department of Psychology, University at Albany, Albany, NY 12222, USA.


Recent research has suggested that practicing small acts of self-control can lead to an improvement in self-control performance. Because smoking cessation requires self-control, it was hypothesized that a treatment that builds self-control should help in quitting smoking. A total of 122 smokers either practiced small acts of self-control for 2 weeks before quitting smoking or practiced a task that increased their awareness of self-control or feelings of confidence, without exercising self-control. Their smoking status was assessed using daily telephone calls and biochemically verified. Individuals who practiced self-control remained abstinent longer than those who practiced tasks that did not require self-control. Supplemental analyses suggested that the increased survival times were a product of building self-control strength and were not produced by changes in feelings that practicing should help in cessation, effort exerted on the practice task, or thinking more about self-control while practicing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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