Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 627–636 | Cite as

Smokers unlikely to quit

  • Neville Owen
  • Stephen L. Brown


Data from a population survey were used to examine the relationships of the number and the duration of previous smoking cessation attempts with current confidence and perceived difficulty of quitting, beliefs about reasons for current smoking and for previous relapses, and preferences for different forms of assistance with cessation. There were significant positive relationships between the duration of previous cessation attempts and perceived difficulty and between the number of previous cessation attempts and confidence. Those who had made more cessation attempts and who had been able to abstain for less than a week were more likely to attribute both relapse and current smoking to uncontrollable factors such as addiction. There were no relationships between cessation attempts and preferences expressed for personalized, or any other, forms of assistance with cessation. These results support the proposition that multiple and short-duration smoking-cessation attempts are related to reduced optimism regarding future cessation.

Key words

cigarette smoking cessation attempts confidence difficulty relapse 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (1988).Smoking and Asthma: South Australia—July 1987, Cat. No. 4306.4, ABS, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  2. Baer, J. S., Holt, C. S., and Lichtenstein, E. (1986). Self-efficacy and smoking re-examined: Construct validity and clinical utility.J. Consul. Clin. Psychol. 54: 846–852.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1986).Social Foundations of Thought and Action, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, S. L., and Owen, N. (1990). Population versus clinical perspectives on smoking behavior.Behav. Change 7: 120–125.Google Scholar
  5. Brownell, K. D., Marlatt, G. A., Lichtenstein, E., and Wilson, G. T. (1986). Understanding and preventing relapse.Am. Psychol. 41: 765–782.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, S., Lichtenstein, E., Prochaska, J. O., Rossi, J. S., Gritz, E. R., Orleans, C. T., Schoenbach, V. J., Biener, L., Abrams, D., Di Clemente, C., Curry, S., Marlatt, G. A., Cummings, K. M., Eamont, S. L., Giovino, G., and Ossip-Klein, D. (1989). Debunking myths about self-quitting: Evidence form 10 prospective studies of persons who attempt to quite smoking by themselves.Am. psychol. 44: 1455–1365.Google Scholar
  7. Condiotte, M. M., and Lichtenstein, E. (1981). Self-efficacy and relapse in smoking cessation programs.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 49: 648–658.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Di Clemente, C. C., Prochaska, J. A., and Gilbertini, M. (1985). Self-efficacy and the stage of self-change of smoking.Cog. Ther. Res. 9: 181–200.Google Scholar
  9. Eiser, J. R. (1982). Addiction as attribution: Cognitive processes in giving up smoking. In J. R. Eiser (ed.),Social Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester.Google Scholar
  10. Fagerstrom, L.-O., and Schneider, N.: (1989). Measuring nicotine dependence: A review of the Fagerstrom tolerance questionnaire.J. Behav. Med. 12: 159–182.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Flay, B. R., (1987). Mass media and smoking cessation: a critical review.Am. J. Public Health 77: 153–160.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Godding, P. R., and Glasgow, R. E. (1985). Self efficacy and outcome expectations as predictors of controlled smoking status.Cog. Ther. Res. 9: 583–590.Google Scholar
  13. Henningfield, J. E., Goldberg, S. R., and Jasinski, D. R. (1987). Nicotine: abuse liability, dependence potential and pharmacological treatment of dependence. In Martin, W. R., van Loon, G. R., Iwamoto, E. T., and Davis, L. (eds.),Tobacco Smoking and Nicotine: A Neurobiological Approach, Plenum Press, pp. 81–101.Google Scholar
  14. Hill, D. J. (1988). Australian patterns of tobacco smoking in 1986.Med. J. Austral. 149: 6–12.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Marlatt, G. A., and Gordon, J. R. (1985).Relapse Prevention: Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment of Additive Behaviors, Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Owen, N. (1989). Behavioral epidemiology research and intervention studies to improve smoking-cessation services.Health Ed. Res. 4: 145–153.Google Scholar
  17. Owen, N., and Davies, M. J. (1990). Smokers' preferences for assistance with cessation.Prev. Med. 19: 424–431.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Pierce, J. P., Dwyer, T., Frape, G., Chamberlain, A., Amin, A., and Quit for Life Steering Committee (1986). Evaluation of Sydney Quit for Life: I. Achievement of intermediate goals.Med. J. Austral. 144: 341–344.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Pierce, J. P., Dwyer, T., Chamberlain, A., Aldrich, R. N., and Shelley, J. (1987). Targetting the smoker in an antismoking campaign.Prev. Med. 16: 816–824.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Pomerleau, O. F., and Pomerleau, C. S. (1984). Neuroregulators and the reinforcement of smoking: Towards a biobehavioral explanation.Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 8: 503–513.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Prochaska, J. O., Velicer, W. F., Di Clemente, C. C., and Fava, J. (1988). Measuring processes of change: Application to smoking cessation.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 56: 520–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Sutton, S. R., and Eiser, J. R. (1984). The effect of fear-arousing communications on cigarette smoking: An expectancy value approach.J. Behav. Med. 7: 13–34.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neville Owen
    • 1
  • Stephen L. Brown
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Community MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations