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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017 Nov;78(6):877-883.

Anxiety Sensitivity and Nicotine Replacement Therapy Side Effects: Examining the Role of Emotion Dysregulation Among Treatment-Seeking Smokers.

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Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas.
Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
Anxiety & Behavioral Health Clinic, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Department of Psychology, Queens College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, Queens, New York.
Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York.



Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) significantly increases the likelihood of quit success at least over the short term, yet some smokers prematurely discontinue use. NRT side effects are often cited as the primary reason for medication discontinuation. The current study examined a theoretical pathway by which two smoking-related emotional vulnerabilities (anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation) were related to the number of NRT (nicotine patch) side effects reported 1 week following a scheduled quit attempt. It was hypothesized that anxiety sensitivity would have an indirect effect on NRT side effects through emotion dysregulation.


A total of 179 treatment-seeking, adult daily smokers with elevated anxiety sensitivity (47.5% male; M age = 39.73 years, SD = 13.87) were enrolled in a smoking cessation trial.


Covariate-adjusted analyses provided support for the hypothesized pathway, such that emotion dysregulation explained the association between anxiety sensitivity and NRT side effects (b = 0.02, SE = 0.01, 95% CI [0.002, 0.03]; completely standardized estimate = .15).


The findings underscore the importance of developing cessation treatments that incorporate techniques to enhance emotion regulation, particularly among smokers higher in anxiety sensitivity, to decrease the risk of NRT side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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