Increase in anger symptoms after smoking cessation predicts relapse

Freda Patterson, Kia Kerrin, E Paul Wileyto, Caryn Lerman
Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2008 May 1, 95 (1-2): 173-6
Smokers tend to increase their cigarette consumption during angry states. We sought to determine whether increases in post-quit anger symptoms predict relapse among smokers who had received 8-weeks of smoking cessation treatment (21 mg nicotine patch+smoking cessation counseling). The 15-item state anger assessment [from Spielberger, C., 1999. STAXI-2: the state trait anger expression inventory professional manual, Odessa, FL] was administered at pre-treatment (2 weeks before the target quit date; TQD) and 1 week after the TQD. Abstinence at 8-weeks post-quit was biochemically verified using carbon monoxide. Smokers who reported increases in pre- to post-quit state anger levels (n=117) were significantly more likely to relapse by 8-weeks after treatment as compared to smokers whose anger did not change or decreased after quitting (n=130) (OR=1.06; CI=1.01-1.10; p=0.01). Furthermore, smokers with increased post-quit anger relapsed almost twice as quickly than those who did not have an increase in post-quit anger symptoms (HR=1.98; CI: 1.32-2.96; p=0.001). These data suggest that anger may be an important withdrawal symptom that influences liability to relapse. Future studies are needed to evaluate treatment strategies that effectively help smokers reduce and manage post-quit anger.

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