Negative mood effects on craving to smoke in women versus men

Addict Behav. 2013 Feb;38(2):1527-1531. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.06.002. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Negative mood situations increase craving to smoke, even in the absence of any tobacco deprivation (e.g. "stressors"). Individual differences in effects of negative mood situations on craving have received relatively little attention but may include variability between men and women. Across two separate within-subjects studies, we examined sex differences in craving (via the QSU-brief) as functions of brief smoking abstinence (versus satiation; Study 1) and acute induction of negative mood (versus neutral mood; Study 2). Subjective ratings of negative affect (via the Mood Form) were also assessed. In Study 1, we compared the effects of overnight (>12h) abstinence versus non-abstinence on craving and affect in adult male (n=63) and female (n=42) smokers. In Study 2, these responses to negative versus neutral mood induction (via pictorial slides and music) were examined in male (n=85) and female (n=78) satiated smokers. Results from each study were similar in showing that craving during the abstinence and negative mood induction conditions was greater in women than men, as hypothesized, although the sex difference in craving due to abstinence was only marginal after controlling for dependence. Craving was strongly associated with negative affect in both studies. These results suggest that very acute negative mood situations (e.g. just a few minutes in Study 2), and perhaps overnight abstinence, may increase craving to smoke to a greater extent in women relative to men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*
  • Young Adult