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Effects of a brief mindfulness intervention on smoking urges and negative affect following a negative affect induction

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Abstract

Negative affect (NA) is associated with increased urge to smoke cigarettes and smoking relapse. Mindfulness meditation is a practice shown to help individuals manage difficult emotions and is an effective method for helping to reduce/quit smoking. The present study was a laboratory experiment with college student smokers (N = 50) who self-reported motivation to smoke for NA reduction. Participants were randomized to a brief mindfulness intervention (n = 24) or control condition (n = 26) followed by a NA induction. Comparisons of NA and urge to smoke cigarettes between groups was examined at baseline, post-intervention, and post-NA manipulation. We predicted that the mindfulness group would better manage experimentally induced NA and report lower urge to smoke following a NA manipulation compared to the control group. Urge to smoke was not lower post-intervention or post-NA induction among participants in the mindfulness group compared to the control group. The mindfulness group no longer had relationships between NA and urge measures post-intervention, while the control group had positive relationships between NA both QSU-Brief Factors. However, post-NA induction the mindfulness group demonstrated a correlation between NA and all smoking urge measures, while the control group demonstrated no correlations between NA and any of the smoking urge measures. These unexpected findings may be accounted for by the theory that mindfulness involves “decoupling” from NA and urges, promoting increased emotional flexibility rather than direct changes to these internal states. Future studies should determine the necessary dose of mindfulness to produce changes in NA and smoking urges.

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Correspondence to Amy L. Copeland.

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Roys, M.R., Stewart, S.A. & Copeland, A.L. Effects of a brief mindfulness intervention on smoking urges and negative affect following a negative affect induction. Curr Psychol 43, 2144–2157 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-023-04467-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-023-04467-7

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