Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government
Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R21CA088297-02 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Brown, Richard
Organization: Butler Hospital (Providence, Ri)
Project Title: Behavioral Vulnerability to Early Smoking Relapse
Fiscal Year: 2001


Relapse continues to plague public health efforts to reduce the prevalence of cigarette smoking. Recent evidence suggests that a large percentage of individuals attempting smoking cessation lapse to smoking within a matter of days, and few recover to achieve and maintain smoking abstinence. Results of studies relating severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms to short-term smoking cessation outcomes have been equivocal. Instead of focusing on severity of withdrawal symptoms, we suggest that factors surrounding how one reacts to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal is more promising. In total, biological, physiological, emotional and behavioral responses to nicotine withdrawal constitute a type of biobehavioral reactivity that may convey vulnerability to early smoking lapse, and in a broader sense, may be an important component of dependence to nicotine. The overall aim of this study is to examine biobehavioral mechanisms related to early smoking lapse in a laboratory investigation of 84 cigarette smokers making an unaided smoking cessation attempt. The sample will be stratified by gender, level of nicotine dependence and history of major depression. Additionally, subjects will be followed for four weeks after attempting cessation, and based upon a median split of time to first smoking lapse, will be grouped as either early lapsers or sustainers. Prior to self-quitting, subjects will be exposed to three laboratory procedures to investigate biobehavioral reactivity to (a) a psychological stressor, (b) physical discomfort and (c) a neuroendocrine dexamethasone/corticotropin releasing hormone (DEX/CRH) challenge test. We expect that early lapsers will have higher levels of reactivity to these procedures on biological, physiological, affective and behavioral measures. Secondarily, we hypothesize that these biobehavioral measures of reactivity will be related to lifetime recurrent MDD, elevated measures of affective vulnerability, and elevated negative mood upon initial cessation. We expect that the results of this study will increase our basic knowledge about biobehavioral vulnerability factors in early smoking lapse and subsequent relapse in smokers quitting without professional assistance, a group that is understudied yet accounts for 90 percent of all cigarette smokers. Because early lapsers represent a recalcitrant group of smokers who are at-risk for continued nicotine dependence, these research findings should hold considerable clinical and public health significance and may result in the development of novel pharmacological and cognitive- behavioral treatments for nicotine dependence.


Adaptation of a sustained care cessation intervention for smokers hospitalized for psychiatric disorders: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.
Authors: Hecht J. , Rigotti N.A. , Minami H. , Kjome K.L. , Bloom E.L. , Kahler C.W. , Price L.H. , Levy D.E. , Carpenter K.M. , Brown R.A. .
Source: Contemporary clinical trials, 2019 Aug; 83, p. 18-26.
EPub date: 2019-06-15.
PMID: 31212100
Related Citations

A prospective examination of distress tolerance and early smoking lapse in adult self-quitters.
Authors: Brown R.A. , Lejuez C.W. , Strong D.R. , Kahler C.W. , Zvolensky M.J. , Carpenter L.L. , Niaura R. , Price L.H. .
Source: Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 2009 May; 11(5), p. 493-502.
EPub date: 2009-04-16.
PMID: 19372572
Related Citations

The role of negative affect in risk for early lapse among low distress tolerance smokers.
Authors: Abrantes A.M. , Strong D.R. , Lejuez C.W. , Kahler C.W. , Carpenter L.L. , Price L.H. , Niaura R. , Brown R.A. .
Source: Addictive behaviors, 2008 Nov; 33(11), p. 1394-1401.
EPub date: 2008-07-02.
PMID: 18684569
Related Citations

Distress tolerance and early smoking lapse.
Authors: Brown R.A. , Lejuez C.W. , Kahler C.W. , Strong D.R. , Zvolensky M.J. .
Source: Clinical psychology review, 2005 Sep; 25(6), p. 713-33.
PMID: 16023275
Related Citations

Back to Top