Send to

Choose Destination
Addiction. 1995 Feb;90(2):233-44.

Stress modulation over the day in cigarette smokers.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of East London, UK.


This review summarizes the findings from a series of four published studies into the relationship between cigarette smoking and stress. In each study, feelings of anxiety/stress were significantly lower post-smoking than pre-smoking (p < 0.001). However, while moods improved immediately after smoking, mood impairments occurred between cigarettes. This repetitive cycle of mood reversals provides a clear rationale for repetitive/addictive cigarette use. The degree of stress modulation was significantly related to the sedative subscale of the Smoking Motivation Questionnaire (p < 0.01). However, high SMQ sedative subjects reported above-average stress prior to smoking, rather than below-average stress after smoking. Thus stress modulation represented mainly the relief of adverse moods, rather than the attainment of beneficial moods. Deprived smokers reported a diurnal pattern of increasing stress, confirming the deleterious effects of nicotine deprivation. These studies demonstrated the importance of mood control as a motive for smoking. They indicate that smokers gain little real advantage from cigarettes, but smoke mainly to forstall nicotine depletion. The deleterious mood effects of acute nicotine withdrawal also helps explain why, when smokers quit smoking, they experience reduced levels of daily stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center