Psychological correlates of smoking behavior

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Carolyn S. Garwood - Committee Chair


An ex-post-facto approach was utilized to study three comparison groups: heavy smokers, light smokers, and non-smokers. The independent variable was smoking status. The dependent variables were measures of specific coping responses, pessimistic outcome expectations, and the extent to which an individual ascribes to irrational beliefs. The instruments used were the following: the Health and Daily Living Coping Response Indices with additional items from COPE, the Life Orientation Test, the Irrational Beliefs Test, and the Biographical and General Health Questionnaire.Male and female undergraduate volunteers from the University of Miami served as subjects for this study. A total of 256 subjects were tested in order to obtain 142 subjects meeting the criteria of the three comparison groups. Heavy smokers (n = 20) reported a mean number of 22 cigarettes smoked per day. Light smokers (n = 34) reported a mean number of 6.4 cigarettes smoked per day. Subjects who reported no smoking history were included in the non-smoking group (n = 88).Heavy smokers were found to report a greater tendency to increase smoking behavior in response to statements describing negative affective states when compared to light smokers. Smokers were as likely as non-smokers to report the use of six of the nine coping domains examined. Heavy smokers and light smokers differed significantly from non-smokers in their reported use of coping responses labeled avoidance coping, emotional discharge, and focus on and venting emotions. The three comparison groups were not found to differ on measures of pessimistic outcome expectations or irrational belief systems. Implications for treatment and future research were discussed.


Education, Educational Psychology

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