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Depression as a predictor of smoking treatment outcome

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): G. Scott Acton, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2001 (Cycle 10) Grant #: 10FT-0248 Award: $52,467
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Once people have become addicted to smoking, they often require some form of help in order to quit. One treatment that has been successful in helping people quit smoking is psychotherapy, including the form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy. Two assumptions underlie cognitive-behavioral therapy: that thoughts cause behavior and that thoughts can be changed. Why psychotherapy is so successful in treating smoking remains unknown, but the answer may lie in the well-established fact that smoking and depression often occur together. The present study will examine the way people respond to items on depression questionnaires to determine how the responses relate to success in quitting smoking. Such information is important in helping therapists focus on those factors that are likely to help smokers quit and not on factors that are unrelated to success in quitting smoking. For example, one questionnaire item might ask whether a person feels sad or blue much of the time. It would be interesting to know whether a “yes” response to this question is correlated with success in quitting smoking through psychotherapy, because that would suggest that psychotherapy works by treating a person's feelings of sadness. This kind of item could be contrasted with other types of items on depression questionnaires that measure, for example, bodily functions such as the ability to get a good night's sleep. Although many depressed people do not sleep well, this symptom might have little to do with the role of psychotherapy in helping people quit smoking. Knowing such information could help psychotherapists focus on those aspects of depression that are most important in treating smoking. Therefore, the first phase of this study will involve the creation of a new questionnaire to measure how depressed someone is. The second phase of the study will be to determine whether parts of this new questionnaire that measure high, medium, or low levels of depression are most likely to be correlated with success in quitting smoking. This information can then be used to recommend appropriate treatments for psychotherapists to help people quit smoking.
Publications

Measurement of impulsivity in a hierarchical model of global personality traits: Implications for substance use.
Periodical: Substance Use and Misuse Index Medicus:
Authors: Acton GS ART
Yr: 2003 Vol: 38 Nbr: Abs: Pg: 67-83

A conceptual and psychomatic framework for distinguishing catagories and dimensions.
Periodical: Psychological Review Index Medicus:
Authors: De Boeck P, Wilson M, Acton GS ART
Yr: 0 Vol: Nbr: Abs: Pg:

Depression severity as a predictor of smoking treatment outcome (Abstract).
Periodical: Drug and Alcohol Dependence Index Medicus:
Authors: Acton GS, Delucchi KL, Hall SM ABS
Yr: 2001 Vol: 63 Nbr: Suppl 1 Abs: Pg: S4