Mechanisms underlying mindfulness-based addiction treatment versus cognitive behavioral therapy and usual care for smoking cessation

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017 Nov;85(11):1029-1040. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000229. Epub 2017 Jun 26.


Objective: To examine cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying mindfulness-based addiction treatment (MBAT) versus cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and usual care (UC) for smoking cessation.

Method: Participants in the parent study from which data were drawn (N = 412; 54.9% female; 48.2% African American, 41.5% non-Latino White, 5.4% Latino, 4.9% other; 57.6% annual income <$30,000) were randomized to MBAT (n = 154), CBT (n = 155), or UC (n = 103). From quit date through 26 weeks postquit, participants completed measures of emotions, craving, dependence, withdrawal, self-efficacy, and attentional bias. Biochemically confirmed 7-day smoking abstinence was assessed at 4 and 26 weeks postquit. Although the parent study did not find a significant treatment effect on abstinence, mixed-effects regression models were conducted to examine treatment effects on hypothesized mechanisms, and indirect effects of treatments on abstinence were tested.

Results: Participants receiving MBAT perceived greater volitional control over smoking and evidenced lower volatility of anger than participants in both other treatments. However, there were no other significant differences between MBAT and CBT. Compared with those receiving UC, MBAT participants reported lower anxiety, concentration difficulties, craving, and dependence, as well as higher self-efficacy for managing negative affect without smoking. Indirect effects of MBAT versus UC on abstinence occurred through each of these mechanisms.

Conclusions: Whereas several differences emerged between MBAT and UC, MBAT and CBT had similar effects on several of the psychosocial mechanisms implicated in tobacco dependence. Results help to shed light on similarities and differences between mindfulness-based and other active smoking cessation treatments. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Craving
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome