Cognitive Avoidance as a Method of Coping with a Provocative Smoking Cue: The Moderating Effect of Nicotine Dependence

William G. Shadel, Raymond Niaura, Michael G. Goldstein, David B. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Both nicotine dependence and coping are important determinants of smoking cessation, yet little is understood about mechanisms that link the two. This laboratory study investigated how nicotine dependence moderates execution of an avoidance coping strategy. High and low dependent smokers were exposed to a provocative smoking cue (in vivo) under two instructional sets: cognitive avoidance coping and no coping. Contrary to hypotheses, high dependent smokers reported greater increases in perceived self-efficacy to not smoke and also demonstrated greater facility in processing coping/nonsmoking-related information on a reaction time task, compared with low dependent smokers. These counterintuitive findings are discussed in terms of how nicotine dependence may affect the cognitive process of coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001



  • Coping
  • Cue reactivity
  • Individual differences
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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