Nicotine dependence as a moderator of message framing effects on smoking cessation outcomes

Lisa M Fucito, Amy E Latimer, Peter Salovey, Benjamin A Toll
Annals of Behavioral Medicine: a Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine 2010, 39 (3): 311-7

BACKGROUND: The persuasiveness of gain-framed and loss-framed messages for smoking cessation may vary by smokers' characteristics. Preliminary research in non-treatment-seeking smokers has shown that level of nicotine dependence moderates the effects of framed smoking messages on quit intentions and smoking cessation attitudes. Nicotine dependence as a potential moderator of message framing effects on actual smoking outcomes among treatment-seeking smokers remains to be determined.

PURPOSE: This secondary analysis of data from a smoking cessation trial (Psychol Addict Behav. 2007; 21: 534-544) examined nicotine dependence as a moderator of message framing effects on smoking cessation success.

METHODS: Dependence scores were dichotomized into high and low dependence (n = 249).

RESULTS: Among high-dependent smokers, gain-framed messages were associated with higher levels of smoking abstinence both during and post-treatment than loss-framed messages. There was no differential effect of gain- versus loss-framed messages among low-dependent smokers.

CONCLUSION: These preliminary findings suggest that the effectiveness of message framing interventions for treatment-seeking smokers may vary by smokers' level of nicotine dependence.

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