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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2012 Dec;20(6):479-88. doi: 10.1037/a0029725. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

An ecological momentary assessment analysis of prequit markers for smoking-cessation failure.

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Department of Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 152 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


This study aimed to identify correlates of smoking-cessation failure, a failure to establish abstinence during a quit-smoking attempt. Identifying risk factors for early failure could facilitate the development of tailored interventions to promote cessation. The current study used existing ecological momentary assessment (EMA) data to investigate the extent to which prequit craving, negative affect, and recent smoking were associated with cessation failure in 374 smokers (189, 50.5% female). Subjects were prompted to complete 4-7 real-time reports of craving, negative affect, and recent smoking daily in the four days prior to quitting. Multilevel models of craving and negative affect (mean level, growth, volatility, and association with smoking) were estimated. Results indicated that recent smoking was associated with significantly lower craving among smokers who failed to quit than those who achieved a full day of cessation, but this held only among smokers who reduced smoking by at least 10% in the days preceding the quit attempt. Smokers who failed to quit on the quit day also experienced slower increases in negative affect in the days preceding the quit attempt than did initial abstainers, but delayed quitters and delayed cessation failures did not differ in negative-affect trajectories. These results suggest that successful abstainers and cessation failures can be differentiated by specific dimensions of prequit craving and negative-affect experiences, but the effects hold only in certain circumstances.

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