Background: Financial strain has an adverse impact on smoking cessation. However, the mechanisms through which financial strain influences cessation remain unclear. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether financial strain indirectly influenced smoking cessation through withdrawal symptom severity.
Methods: Participants (N=139) were primarily Black (63.3%) and female (57.6%) adults enrolled in a smoking cessation program at a safety-net hospital. A self-report financial strain questionnaire was completed one week prior to the scheduled quit date, and the Wisconsin Smoking Withdrawal Scale (WSWS) was completed on the day after the scheduled quit date. Biochemically-verified 7-day point prevalence abstinence was assessed four weeks after the scheduled quit date. Adjusted mediation analyses were conducted using the PROCESS macro for SPSS to evaluate the indirect effects of financial strain on smoking cessation via post-quit withdrawal symptom severity.
Results: Analyses indicated a significant indirect effect of financial strain on smoking cessation through total withdrawal symptom severity, B=0.027; 95% CI (0.003, 0.066); and specifically anger, B=0.035; 95% CI (0.008, 0.074), anxiety, B=0.021; 95% CI (0.001, 0.051), and sleep symptoms, B=0.015; 95% CI (0.005, 0.043). Greater pre-quit financial strain was associated with greater post-quit withdrawal symptom severity, which increased the likelihood of non-abstinence 4 weeks after the scheduled quit attempt. The direct effect of financial strain on smoking cessation was not significant in any of the mediation models.
Conclusions: Findings: suggest that withdrawal severity is an underlying mechanism through which financial strain influences smoking cessation.
Keywords: African Americans; Financial strain; Mediation; Nicotine withdrawal; Smoking cessation; Socioeconomic status.
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