A day at a time: predicting smoking lapse from daily urge

J Abnorm Psychol. 1997 Feb;106(1):104-16. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.106.1.104.


Smokers who recently quit (N = 214) monitored smoking urges for up to 26 days after quitting. Computers administered 4-5 assessments daily at random times; participants rated urges on waking and when they experienced temptation episodes. Urge intensity after cessation did not generally exceed urges reported during baseline ad lib smoking. Urge intensity and temptation frequency consistently declined over the quit period. Controlling for urge intensity at baseline, all daily urge intensity measures predicted lapse the following day in proportional hazards survival analyses. Average duration of temptation episodes also predicted lapses; frequency of temptation did not. To isolate the effect of day-to-day variations in urges, participants' nicotine dependence and urge intensity on quit day were controlled for. Only urge intensity at waking still predicted lapse risk; this was not because of this measured being closer in time to the day's lapses. Among lapsers, urge intensity at waking and in temptations rose preceding a lapse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*
  • Survival Analysis