Treatment for smoking and nicotine dependence has seen few innovations
in the last two decades. One reason for this lack of innovation is an
increasing recognition among researchers that the basic biobehavioral
mechanisms which regulate smoking and cessation behaviors are not well
understood. This proposal responds to the critical need for basic
theorizing and research in the domain of smoking and smoking cessation
by developing an integrative social-cognitive theory to account for
information processing, and the regulation of affect and behavior among
We propose to conduct two laboratory-based studies to validate the
functioning of the smoker self-schema, abstainer ideal-possible self,
and abstainer ought possible self in these three domains. We will
employ idiographic measurement procedures that we have developed in
prior work to assess the these structural cognitive constructs. Study
will assess, in a within subjects design using cognitive priming
procedures and a reaction time task, the degree to which the proposed
constructs help to regulate information processing among smokers. We
expect that the smoker self-schema will facilitate processing of smoking
cue information and that the abstainer ideal possible self and
abstainer ought possible self will regulate processing of coping
information Study 2, using the same idiographic assessment procedures
and priming manipulations, and utilizing a cue exposure paradigm, will
evaluate the regulatory functioning of these constructs on smoking
urges, physiological reactivity, anxious and dysphoric affect, and
coping responses. We predict that discrepancy between the smoker self-
schema and the abstainer ideal possible self will regulate approach
coping behaviors and dysphoric moods, and that the discrepancy between
the smoker self-schema and the abstainer ought possible self will
regulate avoidance coping behaviors and anxious emotional states, when
Support for this social cognitive model would advance an understanding
of the mechanisms involved in smoking and cessation behaviors, and
possible lead to developing interventions that will help increasing
number of smokers to quit.
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