Introduction: Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a valuable method for studying smoking cessation, but feasibility has not been examined in committed couples. The current study examines the feasibility of conducting an EMA study of unaided smoking cessation in single-smoker couples.
Methods: Participants were 62 single-smoker couples recruited to participate in a 21-day study of unaided smoking cessation. Quitters and Partners were given instructions to complete one morning report, three signaled reports, and one evening report per day, as well as lapse reports when necessary. They also completed a series of questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. This article examines predictors of compliance with the reporting instructions.
Results: Compliance with scheduled reporting was reasonable (Quitters: 76%, Partners: 79%). Compliance with "on-time" lapse reporting (vs. make-up reporting) was poor (Quitters: 62%, Partners: 43%). Quitters' compliance with lapse reporting was strongly associated with an orientation toward quitting. Partners' compliance with lapse reporting was associated with relationship motivation. Quitter compliance plummeted when Partners were noncompliant. Self-regulation and emotional instability were not associated with compliance but were associated with time to complete reports. Quitters' and Partners' experiences completing the study provide some insight into the dynamics of completing an EMA study as part of a dyad.
Conclusions: Overall, this study suggests it is feasible and effective to collect EMA data on smoking cessation from couples. However, compliance with lapse reporting was poor, especially for Partners. Researchers could provide remuneration on a different schedule, provide shorter lapse reports, or omit Partner lapse reports altogether.
Implications: This article examined compliance with scheduled and lapse reporting in single-smoker couples during an unaided quit attempt. Compliance with scheduled reporting was acceptable, but compliance with lapse reporting was poor, especially for Partners. Quitters' compliance with lapse reporting was heavily influenced by an orientation toward quitting, suggesting that improved screening for motivation to quit might improve compliance rates. Quitter compliance also plummeted when Partners were noncompliant. Partner demographics and relationship motivation were the best predictors of compliance. To enhance compliance, researchers might provide remuneration on a different scale, dramatically shorten lapse reports, or even omit Partner lapse reports.