Anhedonia and anxiety sensitivity: prospective relationships to nicotine withdrawal symptoms during smoking cessation

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2013 May;74(3):469-78. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2013.74.469.


Objective: The aim of the present investigation was to explore the main and interactive effects of anhedonic depressive symptoms and anxiety sensitivity in terms of the individual components of nicotine withdrawal symptoms experienced on quit day as well as throughout the initial 14 days of cessation.

Method: Participants included 65 daily cigarette smokers (38 women; Mage = 46.08 years, SD = 9.12) undergoing psychosocial-pharmacological cessation treatment.

Results: Results indicated that, after controlling for the effects of participant sex and nicotine dependence, anhedonic depression symptoms, but not anxiety sensitivity, significantly predicted quit day levels of mood-based nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Conversely, anxiety sensitivity, but not anhedonic depression symptoms, was significantly related to the change in most nicotine withdrawal symptoms over time. Finally, our results revealed a significant interaction between anxiety sensitivity and anhedonic depression symptoms related to the slope of certain withdrawal symptoms over time. Specifically, among participants with higher levels of anxiety sensitivity, greater levels of anhedonic depression symptoms were related to greater increases in withdrawal symptoms over time for two of the nine anxiety-relevant components of nicotine withdrawal (restlessness and frustration).

Conclusions: Among high anxiety-sensitivity persons, compared with those low in anxiety sensitivity, anhedonic depression symptoms may be more relevant to the experience of some withdrawal symptoms being more intense and persistent during the early phases of quitting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anhedonia*
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Nicotinic Agonists / adverse effects
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / rehabilitation


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Nicotine