Despite the multitude of negative consequences from tobacco smoking (e.g., health, social, and economic costs), over 20% of U.S. adults continue to smoke. Furthermore, post-cessation relapse rates typically exceed 90%, exemplifying the need to understand the reinforcing properties of smoking and potential precipitants of relapse. As these factors are elucidated, they can be used to inform the development of more effective interventions. The primary goal of the current study is to test whether self-control depletion may serve as an antecedent for smoking lapse/relapse, examine a context that may exacerbate this effect (i.e., nicotine withdrawal), and test novel mechanisms that may mediate increased smoking behavior (i.e., behavioral economic indices of cigarette demand and delay discounting). These goals will be accomplished via a 2 X 2, crossed-factorial, between-subjects design (N = 132 dependent smokers). Following nicotine deprivation (deprivation vs. no deprivation) and self-control depletion (depletion vs. no depletion) manipulations, outcome variables will be assessed (i.e., craving, cigarette demand, delay discounting, and smoking lapse/relapse behavior). By utilizing a smoking lapse/relapse analogue task, the current study intends to delineate the role that self-control resources and behavioral economic variables (i.e., drug demand and delay discounting) play in maintaining nicotine dependence. Therefore, this study aims to extend a systematic line of research that has the potential of advancing theories of addiction as well as identifying targets for novel interventions. Given the applicant's interess in self-control, behavioral economics, and translational methodology for treatment development (i.e., the smoking lapse/relapse analogue task), the applicant will visit the laboratories of expers in each of these fields, including: Dr. Roy Baumeister (Florida State University), Dr. James MacKillop (University of Georgia), Dr. Warren Bickel (Virginia Tech), and Dr. Sherry McKee (Yale University). These visitations will provide the applicant with methodological training and opportunities for collaboration. The applicant will also attend a workshop on advanced statistical analyses and complete graduate level courses pertinent to his research (e.g., behavior theory, behavioral medicine, and pharmacology) and career (e.g., grant writing and ethics) interests. Finally, the remainder of the applicant's graduate training will be dedicated to the further development of his research program. This will be evidenced by completion of manuscripts, continued collaborations, and presentation of research at multiple scientific meetings. Ultimately, the applicant is devoted to developing into an independent researcher and obtaining a competitive postdoctoral fellowship or faculty position that will allow for the continuation of tis systematic line of research examining the relationship between self-control resources and smoking, and the development of novel smoking cessation interventions.
Despite tobacco smoking serving as the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, over 20% of U.S. adults currently smoke. Moreover, relapse rates typically exceed 90% among those who attempt to quit smoking. The goals of the current study are to identify potential predictors and processes of smoking relapse, thereby advancing theories of addiction and providing novel targets for treatment development.