Public and private self-consciousness and smoking behavior in head and neck cancer patients
Patients who continue to use tobacco following treatment for head and neck cancers are at a greater risk for cancer recurrence and earlier mortality. This study examined the unique effects of public and private self-consciousness and negative affect on smoking behavior in a sample of 40 patients with cancers of the head and neck. Measures of public and private self-consciousness and negative affect were administered and assessments of past and current smoking behavior were obtained. Only public self-consciousness was a significant predictor of continued smoking following oncologic treatment. Specifically, individuals with low levels of public self-consciousness were nearly 13 times more likely to continue smoking compared to those with relatively higher levels of public self-consciousness. This pattern is interpreted in the context of previous theorizing that suggests individuals high in public self-consciousness are more likely to discontinue habitual behavior that is perceived as socially undesirable or incorrect.
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