Effects of emotion regulation strategies on smoking craving, attentional bias, and task persistence

Behav Res Ther. 2012 May;50(5):333-40. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.010. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of different strategies for regulating emotions associated with smoking on subjective, cognitive, and behavioral correlates of smoking. Emotion regulation was manipulated by instructing participants to reappraise (n = 32), accept (n = 31), or suppress (n = 31) their emotions associated with smoking. The dependent measures included subjective reports of craving, negative affect, and attentional biases, as measured by a modified dot-probe task, and persistence during a task to measure distress tolerance. Individuals who were encouraged to reappraise the consequences of smoking showed diminished craving, lower negative affect, had reduced attentional biases for smoking-related cues, and exhibited greater task persistence than those who were instructed to accept and suppress their urge to smoke. These findings suggest that reappraisal techniques are more effective than acceptance or suppression strategies for targeting smoking-related problems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Attention
  • Cues
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Repression, Psychology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Young Adult