Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Though approximately 70% of current adult smokers are motivated to quit, approximately 90-95% of smokers who try to quit smoking on their own and 60-80% who attend treatment programs relapse to smoking. Research has accumulated indicating that negative affect is important in contributing to failed attempts at smoking cessation. Researchers have developed successful integrated treatments that target smoking cessation and symptom reduction as a means to improve smoking cessation outcomes. However, no published study has tested whether anger-reduction treatment would facilitate smoking cessation. This is unfortunate, because problematic anger is a strong predictor of failed attempts at smoking cessation. Our proposed study seeks to evaluate whether a novel 8-session computerized anger- reduction treatment improves quit rates among smokers. Smokers with elevated anger (approximately one-third of all smokers) will be administered transdermal nicotine patch therapy and either anger-reduction treatment or a control intervention. They will be assessed throughout treatment and up until three months after a scheduled mid- treatment quit date. We propose to test whether, compared to the control condition, the anger-reduction treatment will lead to: 1) greater reductions in anger and 2) greater abstinence rates at post-cessation and at follow-up assessments. We will also test whether changes in anger-related symptoms account for group differences in abstinence rates. The anger reduction intervention we have developed is a novel one that focuses on changing interpretations of potentially hostile situations. Because this intervention is delivered completely over the computer, it could be easily disseminated. Overall, we believe this project has significant potential from a public healt perspective, as it would allow us to evaluate a promising intervention for improving smoking cessation outcomes. The proposed study would also address the theoretically important question of whether reducing anger will lead to lower risk of relapse following smoking cessation.
The objective of this proposal is to test the effectiveness of a computerized anger-reduction treatment for smoking cessation for smokers with elevated anger. Problematic anger is a strong predictor of failed attempts at smoking cessation, though no published study has tested whether anger-reduction treatment would facilitate smoking cessation. This project would allow us to evaluate a novel, promising, cost- effective and easily accessible intervention for improving smoking cessation outcomes.