Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 315–324

The Importance of Supporting Autonomy and Perceived Competence in Facilitating Long-Term Tobacco Abstinence

  • Geoffrey C. Williams
  • Christopher P. Niemiec
  • Heather Patrick
  • Richard M. Ryan
  • Edward L. Deci
Rapid Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-009-9090-y

Cite this article as:
Williams, G.C., Niemiec, C.P., Patrick, H. et al. ann. behav. med. (2009) 37: 315. doi:10.1007/s12160-009-9090-y

Abstract

Background

The Public Health Service (PHS) Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence (Fiore et al. 2000) recommends supporting autonomy and perceived competence to facilitate tobacco abstinence.

Purpose

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive tobacco-dependence intervention based on self-determination theory (SDT) and intended to support autonomy and perceived competence in facilitating long-term tobacco abstinence.

Methods

One thousand and six adult smokers were recruited into a randomized cessation–induction trial. Community care participants received cessation pamphlets and information on local treatment programs. Intervention participants received the same materials and were asked to meet four times with counselors over 6 months to discuss their health in a manner intended to support autonomy and perceived competence. The primary outcome was 24-month prolonged abstinence from tobacco. The secondary outcome was 7-day point prevalence tobacco abstinence at 24 months postintervention.

Results

Smokers in the intervention were more likely to attain both tobacco abstinence outcomes and these effects were partially mediated by change in both autonomous self-regulation and perceived competence from baseline to 6 months. Structural equation modeling confirmed the SDT model of health-behavior change in facilitating long-term tobacco abstinence.

Conclusions

An intervention based on SDT and consistent with the PHS Guideline, which was intended to support autonomy and perceived competence, facilitated long-term tobacco abstinence.

Keywords

Autonomy Perceived competence Self-determination theory Tobacco abstinence 

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey C. Williams
    • 2
  • Christopher P. Niemiec
    • 1
  • Heather Patrick
    • 2
  • Richard M. Ryan
    • 1
  • Edward L. Deci
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine and Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA