Nicotine dependence as a moderator of message framing effects on smoking cessation outcomes

Ann Behav Med. 2010 Jun;39(3):311-7. doi: 10.1007/s12160-010-9187-3.


Background: The persuasiveness of gain-framed and loss-framed messages for smoking cessation may vary by smokers' characteristics. Preliminary research in non-treatment-seeking smokers has shown that level of nicotine dependence moderates the effects of framed smoking messages on quit intentions and smoking cessation attitudes. Nicotine dependence as a potential moderator of message framing effects on actual smoking outcomes among treatment-seeking smokers remains to be determined.

Purpose: This secondary analysis of data from a smoking cessation trial (Psychol Addict Behav. 2007; 21: 534-544) examined nicotine dependence as a moderator of message framing effects on smoking cessation success.

Methods: Dependence scores were dichotomized into high and low dependence (n = 249).

Results: Among high-dependent smokers, gain-framed messages were associated with higher levels of smoking abstinence both during and post-treatment than loss-framed messages. There was no differential effect of gain- versus loss-framed messages among low-dependent smokers.

Conclusion: These preliminary findings suggest that the effectiveness of message framing interventions for treatment-seeking smokers may vary by smokers' level of nicotine dependence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy