Prediction of smoking relapse: analyses of temptations and transgressions after initial cessation

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989 Oct;57(5):623-7. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.57.5.623.


Different types of "relapse crises" and associated coping responses were associated with the resumption of smoking using a prospective design. One hundred and two previously heavy smokers (M = 23.9 cigarettes a day) who achieved initial abstinence through a smoking cessation program were interviewed by telephone at 1, 2, and 3 months posttreatment. At each assessment, subjects described relapse crises, situations in which they were tempted to smoke or actually smoked but resumed abstinence (lapsed). Prospective analyses indicated that any smoking lapse is strongly related to subsequent relapse. Situational characteristics of relapse crises and the number of cognitive and behavioral coping responses reported during crises were only modestly consistent over time and were unrelated to later relapse. Confidence ratings and situational attributions about the relapse crises were also not prospectively associated with eventual relapse. Subanalyses suggested that lapses associated with urges and emotional (guilt) responses and lapses occurring in frequent situations are more likely to result in relapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking / psychology*