Smoking and the alleviation of stress: A study into mediating factors for the relationship between smoking and stress
MetadataShow full item record
Goal. This study aimed (a) to assess whether smoking reduces stress in non-deprived smokers, (b) to investigate whether the effects of smoking a cigarette on stress can be attributed to attention allocation on positive stimuli and (c) to validate whether the effect of smoking expectancies is fully caused by a placebo effect. Design. Participants, unaware that smoking was investigated, were placed in a social heavy smoking environment to elicit smoking behavior. Afterwards they received a stressor in the form of a memory test that measured attention allocation and filled in a scale for positive smoking expectancies. These results were compared to the amount smoked and fluctuations of stress. Setting. Camper built to function as a mobile lab. Participants. Thirty two daily smokers between the ages of 16 and 24 who smoked normally prior to the study. Measurements. Amount smoked was measured with a micro+ smokerlyzer at the start and end of the session. Stress was measured by the self-manikin scale. A memory test was used to measure relative attention towards stressful or calming pictures from the ‘The International Affective Picture System’. A modified version of Russel’s motives for smoking questionnaire was used to measure smoking expectancies. Findings. (a) Results indicate that smoking might reduce stress in non-deprived smokers, however, effects of nicotine deprivation cannot be ruled out. (b) Smoking does not appear to have an effect on attention allocation. (c) Placebo effects do not seem to account for the full effects of relative smoking expectancies, indicating there might be individual (biological) differences that underlie the relationship between smoking and stress.