Attribution and the effects of expectancy: how beliefs can influence the experiences of smoking cessation
Gilbert, H. M. and Warburton, D. M. (2003) Attribution and the effects of expectancy: how beliefs can influence the experiences of smoking cessation. Addictive Behaviors, 28 (7). pp. 1359-1369. ISSN 0306-4603
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/s0306-4603(02)00249-6
Research on smoking cessation has found consistencies and similarities during abstinence, but also that the specific signs and symptoms and their intensity vary greatly from individual to individual. One possible source of this variation is the cognitions associated with quitting. We investigated the experiences and associated cognitions in normal cessation by asking quitting smokers to rate their experiences on a questionnaire and to indicate the most likely reason for each experience. Statistical analyses confirmed that attributions to abstinence were significantly higher for increased negative experiences, and there were significantly more reattributions than would be found by chance for items associated with smoking abstinence. Significantly more attributions to abstinence were made by clinic attendees and significantly more attributions of negative experiences to abstinence were made by unaided quitters using self-help materials. These results can be interpreted in the context of attribution theory; quitters may use the cognitions available to them to attribute their negative experiences to quitting. Consequently, counsellors could use cognitive therapy to alter their clients' expectations and explanations of their experiences, and emphasise the positive outcomes of cessation. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.