Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D.

Keywords

Cue reactivity, Weight, Addiction, Female college students, Women

Abstract

Smoking is now the leading cause of preventable death and disease in women. Understanding women's motivations to smoke is important in developing effective cessation and relapse prevention programs. Previous descriptive, correlational, and quasi-experimental research has established that weight concerns and negative body image are associated with tobacco smoking, cessation, and relapse, particularly among young women. This study, building upon a previous experimental study (Lopez, Drobes, Thompson, & Brandon, 2008), examined whether activation of negative body image cognitions would produce greater urges to smoke and would affect actual smoking behavior. A randomized 2 X 2 crossed factorial, between-subjects design (body image manipulation X smoking cue manipulation) was conducted with 133 female college smokers.

The body image manipulation involved trying on a one-piece bathing suit or evaluating a purse, and the smoking cue manipulation included the presentation of their pack of cigarettes or a stapler. Participants completed pre-intervention measures assessing smoking history, trait body dissatisfaction, trait self-objectification, and trait affect. State levels of urge to smoke, mood, and body dissatisfaction were assessed after the manipulations. It was hypothesized that main effects on the measures of smoking motivation (i.e., self-reported urges to smoke and topographical measures of smoking behavior) would be found for the body image manipulation, with trait body dissatisfaction and/or trait self-objectification moderating the body image manipulation and state negative affect serving as a mediator.

Results indicated that trying on a bathing suit, which increased body dissatisfaction, did increase reported urges to smoke, particularly those urges related to reducing negative affect. Women assigned to the bathing suit condition also subsequently took a greater number of puffs from their cigarette than those who evaluated the purse. (No main effects were found for the smoking cue manipulation). No moderation effects were found, but the effect on smoking urges by the body image manipulation was mediated by state negative affect. This study provides additional support, through an experimental design, that situational challenges to body image influence smoking motivation, and that this effect occurs, at least in part, via increases in negative affect. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.

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