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Interdependence - smoking behavior & mood in natural setting

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): Richard Olmstead, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 1997 (Cycle 6) Grant #: 6KT-0322 Award: $222,843
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: New Investigator Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Although the health risks of smoking are well-known, many people choose to begin or to continue to smoke. Many smokers indicate that they smoke because it helps control their mood (for example, smoking to relax, smoking to be alert). It is also known that nicotine, the primary addictive substance in tobacco, can affect mood. It may also be that, once the person smokes regularly for some time, temporary withdrawal from nicotine generates mood disturbances which are then eliminated by smoking, an apparent but false benefit.

One problem is that almost all experiments that have linked smoking and nicotine to mood changes (and vice versa) have taken place within a laboratory setting. This setting generally represents an unusual experience for the person being tested and their behavior may not reflect what their actions would be in other contexts. The present series of studies examines smoking's effects on mood but during the experiences of a typical day. Of interest is the potential of smoking to affect patterns in daily mood and whether decisions to smoke may be due to changes in mood.

Subjects will be observed during two sessions, each lasting a full day. During this time, approximately once every 30 minutes, they will provide mood ratings, urge to smoke ratings and indicate if they have recently smoked.. One study will examine the effects of smoking restrictions on the daily mood experience of regular smokers and will compare them to ex-smokers and never-smokers. Two other studies will examine the impact of depression and anxiety on smoking behavior. The final study will focus on young adults (18-24) and compare those who smoke regularly to those who only smoke occasionally and those who do not smoke at all.

This proposal examines an aspect of smoking that may explain why people choose to smoke. Ultimately, this in-depth analysis of smoking behavior and its relationship to mood will provide information that can be used to create better programs and treatments for helping people quit smoking.