Maximizing the motivational impact of feedback of lung cancer susceptibility on smokers' desire to quit

J Health Commun. Jul-Sep 2000;5(3):229-41. doi: 10.1080/10810730050131406.


This two-by-two factorially designed study evaluate approaches for communicating feedback of lung cancer susceptibility to smokers as a method for motivating smoking cessation. The study factors were: method of communicating feedback (by mail with telephone follow-up or in-person) and carbon monoxide feedback (yes or no). One-hundred-forty-four smokers were stratified on race and randomized to one of four conditions. Participants were surveyed at baseline and 2-month follow-up. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for the absence of the glutathione S transferase mu (GSTM1) gene was the susceptibility marker. Regardless of counseling method or carbon monoxide (CO) feedback, the majority (90%) of smokers accurately recalled the test result and 66% accurately interpreted the meaning of the test result. Smokers who received their result in person were significantly less likely to have read the result booklet than those in the telephone counseling group (OR = .28, 95%; CI .12-.62; p < .05). Neither counseling method nor CO feedback increased smokers' perceived risks for lung cancer. However, at the counseling session those who received in-person counseling were significantly less frightened by the test result than those who received telephone counseling (OR = .42, 95%; CI .20-86; p < .05) and at the 2-month follow-up those who received a CO test were significantly less frightened by their susceptibility result (OR = .40, 95%; CI .17-.92; p < .05) than those who did not have a CO test. Evaluation of further refinements in communicating the meaning of susceptibility results to motivate smoking cessation is warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Communication*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology


  • Biomarkers