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Health Educ Res. 2010 Dec;25(6):1008-20. doi: 10.1093/her/cyq053. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Factors underlying smoking relapse prevention: results of an international Delphi study.

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Department of Health Promotion and Health Education, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.


No definitive picture of the factors determining smoking relapse exists, and many smoking relapse prevention programmes have only modest behavioural effects. This study aims to identify the level of consensus among and compare the opinions of two groups of experts (researchers and coaches who provide smoking cessation courses) regarding factors already studied in relation to smoking relapse, factors that have not yet been addressed and ideas on how to improve prevention programmes. A three-round Delphi method was employed. In the first round, 15 researchers completed an electronic questionnaire on factors associated with relapse. The results were used to develop a structured questionnaire for the second round, which was completed by 47 researchers and 61 coaches. The second-round results were then presented to the same experts in the third round, enabling them to re-rate their answers. Results revealed high consensus on some factors already identified as predicting relapse (e.g. self-efficacy), new factors (e.g. action planning) and several methods to improve prevention programmes. Generally speaking, the researchers and coaches provided similar suggestions. The results paint a picture of the current state of knowledge on relapse-related factors and point the way to areas for further research.

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