Skip to main content
Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R21CA088272-02 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Al'Absi, Mustafa
Organization: University Of Minnesota Duluth
Project Title: Psychobiological Mechanisms of Smoking Relapse
Fiscal Year: 2001
Back to top


DESCRIPTION: (Applicant's Description) Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Although the decades have witnessed accelerated efforts to develop effective smoking cessation strategies, the long-term success rates have been disappointing. The majority of smokers relapse within two weeks of a cessation attempt, and little is known about the nature of this early relapse. Smoking cessation is associated with negative affect symptoms. These symptoms are intensified in stressful situations, possibly accelerating the progression towards a full relapse. Mechanisms responsible for this stress effect are not known. Without specific knowledge of the stress-related biobehavioral changes, targeted efforts to reduce smoking and relapse will remain limited. The long-term goal of this research is to determine the psycho biological mechanisms responsible for smoking relapse. The specific goal of this project is to evaluate hormonal changes during early abstinence and in response to behavioral stress, and to assess the extent to which these changes predict early relapse. Our central hypothesis is that exaggerated responses to behavioral stress predict a shorter time to relapse. This hypothesis is based on the well-established observation that stressful events, characterized by negative emotions, are associated with rises in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol concentrations. It is also based on the observation that environmental stressors increase the risk for smoking relapse. We will specifically determine the extent to which basal cortisol activity during early smoking abstinence predicts relapse, examine endocrine and cardiovascular responses to stress as predictors of smoking relapse, and evaluate gender differences in psycho biological changes during smoking abstinence and in response to behavioral stress. This research focuses on the pituitary-adrenocortical axis, an important stress-related biological system recently implicated in addiction. We will integrate hormonal, autonomic and psychological indices to gain an accurate profile of the stress response patterning among smokers and use this information in a prospective fashion to predict relapse in men and women. The results will provide a base of knowledge concerning psycho biological changes associated with quitting and risk for relapse. This information will facilitate efforts towards improving methods to identify and assist individuals at high risk for relapse. Reducing relapse rates will contribute significantly towards reducing smoking and its harmful effects.

Back to top


Circulating leptin levels are associated with increased craving to smoke in abstinent smokers.
Authors: al'Absi M. , Hooker S. , Fujiwara K. , Kiefer F. , von der Goltz C. , Cragin T. , Wittmers L.E. .
Source: Pharmacology, Biochemistry, And Behavior, 2011 Jan; 97(3), p. 509-13.
PMID: 20951159
Related Citations

Blunted opiate modulation of prolactin response in smoking men and women.
Authors: Shaw D. , al'Absi M. .
Source: Pharmacology, Biochemistry, And Behavior, 2010 Mar; 95(1), p. 1-5.
PMID: 19969014
Related Citations

Sex-specific associations of body mass index with mood disturbance during smoking abstinence.
Authors: Ceballos N.A. , Hooker S. , al'Absi M. .
Source: Neuropsychobiology, 2009; 60(1), p. 37-43.
PMID: 19729971
Related Citations

Blunted opiate modulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical activity in men and women who smoke.
Authors: al'Absi M. , Wittmers L.E. , Hatsukami D. , Westra R. .
Source: Psychosomatic Medicine, 2008 Oct; 70(8), p. 928-35.
PMID: 18799426
Related Citations

Attenuated beta endorphin response to acute stress is associated with smoking relapse.
Authors: Shaw D. , al'Absi M. .
Source: Pharmacology, Biochemistry, And Behavior, 2008 Sep; 90(3), p. 357-62.
PMID: 18495227
Related Citations

Anger management style and endogenous opioid function: is gender a moderator?
Authors: Bruehl S. , al'Absi M. , France C.R. , France J. , Harju A. , Burns J.W. , Chung O.Y. .
Source: Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 2007 Jun; 30(3), p. 209-19.
PMID: 17410417
Related Citations

Are smokers' reasons for smoking related to their body mass indices?
Authors: Hovland J. , Ceballos N.A. .
Source: Substance Use & Misuse, 2007; 42(8), p. 1337-44.
PMID: 17674237
Related Citations

Adrenocortical and nociceptive responses to opioid blockade in hypertension-prone men and women.
Authors: al'Absi M. , France C. , Harju A. , France J. , Wittmers L. .
Source: Psychosomatic Medicine, 2006 Mar-Apr; 68(2), p. 292-8.
PMID: 16554396
Related Citations

Blood pressure stress reactivity and left ventricular mass in a random community sample of African-American and caucasian men and women.
Authors: al'Absi M. , Devereux R.B. , Rao D.C. , Kitzman D. , Oberman A. , Hopkins P. , Arnett D.K. .
Source: The American Journal Of Cardiology, 2006-01-15 00:00:00.0; 97(2), p. 240-4.
PMID: 16442370
Related Citations

Attenuated adrenocorticotropic responses to psychological stress are associated with early smoking relapse.
Authors: al'Absi M. , Hatsukami D. , Davis G.L. .
Source: Psychopharmacology, 2005 Aug; 181(1), p. 107-17.
PMID: 15834539
Related Citations

How accurate are parental chronic pain histories provided by offspring?
Authors: Bruehl S. , France C.R. , France J. , Harju A. , al'Absi M. .
Source: Pain, 2005 Jun; 115(3), p. 390-7.
PMID: 15911166
Related Citations

Salivary cortisol concentrations are associated with acute nicotine withdrawal.
Authors: Cohen L.M. , al'Absi M. , Collins F.L. .
Source: Addictive Behaviors, 2004 Nov; 29(8), p. 1673-8.
PMID: 15451136
Related Citations

Sex differences in pain and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical responses to opioid blockade.
Authors: al'Absi M. , Wittmers L.E. , Ellestad D. , Nordehn G. , Kim S.W. , Kirschbaum C. , Grant J.E. .
Source: Psychosomatic Medicine, 2004 Mar-Apr; 66(2), p. 198-206.
PMID: 15039504
Related Citations

Psychophysiological effects of nicotine abstinence and behavioral challenges in habitual smokers.
Authors: al'Absi M. , Amunrud T. , Wittmers L.E. .
Source: Pharmacology, Biochemistry, And Behavior, 2002 Jun; 72(3), p. 707-16.
PMID: 12175468
Related Citations

Back to Top