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Addict Behav. 2011 Apr;36(4):308-14. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.11.015. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Smoking cue reactivity across massed extinction trials: negative affect and gender effects.

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Temple University, Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA.


Designing and implementing cue exposure procedures to treat nicotine dependence remains a challenge. This study tested the hypothesis that gender and negative affect (NA) influence changes in smoking urge over time using data from a pilot project testing the feasibility of massed extinction procedures. Forty-three smokers and ex-smokers completed the behavioral laboratory procedures. All participants were over 17 years old, smoked at least 10 cigarettes daily over the last year (or the year prior to quitting) and had expired CO below 10 ppm at the beginning of the ~4-hour session. After informed consent, participants completed 45 min of baseline assessments, and then completed a series of 12 identical, 5-minute exposure trials with inter-trial breaks. Smoking cues included visual, tactile, and olfactory cues with a lit cigarette, in addition to smoking-related motor behaviors without smoking. After each trial, participants reported urge and negative affect (NA). Logistic growth curve models supported the hypothesis that across trials, participants would demonstrate an initial linear increase followed by a decrease in smoking urge (quadratic effect). Data supported hypothesized gender, NA, and gender√óNA effects. Significant linear increases in urge were observed among high and low NA males, but not among females in either NA subgroup. A differential quadratic effect showed a significant decrease in urge for the low NA subgroup, but a non-significant decrease in urge in the high NA group. This is the first study to demonstrate gender differences and the effects of NA on the extinction process using a smoking cue exposure paradigm. Results could guide future cue reactivity research and exposure interventions for nicotine dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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