Smoking behavior in persons with a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder: a qualitative investigation of the transtheoretical model

Soc Sci Med. 2005 Jul;61(2):293-303. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.11.057. Epub 2005 Jan 22.


Smoking rates among persons with schizophrenia are up to three times the rates of the general US population, and research has shown that it is difficult to design cessation programs for people with schizophrenia that take into account their various cognitive and social deficits. More research is needed on the attitudes and priorities of people with schizophrenia in order to design and implement effective smoking cessation programs. Additionally, more research should be conducted with first-episode psychosis and chronic schizophrenia patients to investigate possible differences between these two groups. The purpose of this study, conducted in Atlanta, USA, was to use qualitative methodology to assess the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) in the context of smoking behavior in a sample of participants with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. Data were obtained via interviews with 12 participants with either first-episode or chronic schizophrenia-spectrum disorders who smoked cigarettes. Differences between the two subsets of the sample were assessed. Results clustered into the following prevalent themes: (1) pros and cons of smoking; (2) beliefs about smoking cessation; (3) external influences on smoking and quitting; and (4) negative attitudes toward nicotine replacement therapies (NRT). Findings indicate that the majority of participants were in the precontemplation stage of quitting smoking, and that the primary advantages of smoking for this sample were relief from anxiety and negative symptoms. Important differences were found between chronic and first-episode participants in the areas of readiness-to-quit and beliefs about smoking cessation. Other findings indicate a lack of cessation programs offered to this sample, and overall negative attitudes toward NRT. Future interventions should take into account the reported pros and cons of smoking in this population, as well as other beliefs and attitudes regarding smoking behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy
  • United States / epidemiology