Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Thomas Brandon, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jamie Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jon Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joe Vandello, Ph.D.

Keywords

Cigarettes, Craving, Dietary Restraint, Expectancies, Tobacco

Abstract

Prior research found that female smokers with elevated dietary restraint (“high-restrainers”) smoked more after a disinhibiting food event (Kovacs, Correa, & Brandon, 2014). The current study aimed to determine if high-restrainers smoked merely to distract themselves from eating, or if the appetite/weight-control aspects of smoking played a role. Female smokers (N = 128) attended a laboratory session and were randomized to receive a milkshake prime (Prime condition) or not (No-Prime condition). All participants then received ad-lib access to tempting foods, cigarettes, and a computer tablet with internet access. Our main aims were to test the effect of the prime on smoking and eating behavior in the presence of an alternative distractor (i.e. the tablet). We expected high-restrainers in the Prime condition to demonstrate preference for cigarettes even in the presence of an alternative distractor. Primary analyses utilized hierarchical regression models with condition and several moderators as predictors of consumption behavior. Condition was predictive of total cigarette smoked (p’s <.02), indicating that those in the Prime condition smoked more. Regardless of condition, several expectancy measures predicted cigarette consumption (p’s < .05), and higher level of dietary restraint predicted shorter latency to smoke (p = .017). Additionally, lower levels of trait mindfulness were associated with elevated dietary restraint, cigarette craving at baseline and expectancies about cigarettes’ weight control properties. Importantly, latency to use the tablet was not predicted by level of dietary restraint or expectancies. Although dietary restraint and expectancies did not interact with condition to predict levels of smoking, the overall findings suggest that: 1. The traditional priming effect was apparently mitigated in the presence of appealing distracting stimuli; and 2. Dietary restrainers attempt to prevent food consumption by turning to cigarettes, choosing to utilize cigarettes above and beyond preference for other salient distracting stimuli. Therefore, smoking appears to be more than just a distractor from eating, and is also associated with strong beliefs about weight and appetite control. These findings may inform interventions aimed at the high-risk population of young adult female smokers, and mindfulness-based strategies may prove especially useful.

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