Approach bias retraining to augment smoking cessation: A pilot randomized controlled trial
Number of pages
SourceDrug and Alcohol Dependence, 238, (2022), article 109579
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Background: Approach tendency to smoking-related cues has been associated with greater cravings, nicotine dependence, and the likelihood of relapse. In this pilot randomized clinical trial, we examined the efficacy of approach bias retraining (ABR; i.e., increasing avoidance tendency) for enhancing standard smoking cessation treatment (ST). Methods: Adult smokers (N = 96) motivated to quit were randomly assigned to 7 weekly in-person treatment sessions consisting of either (1) cognitive-behavioral therapy for smoking cessation (ST) and ABR (ST+ABR) or ST and sham retraining (ST+Sham). All participants also received optional nicotine replacement therapy for up to 8 weeks following the scheduled quit date (week 6). We measured avoidance tendency from weeks 1-7. Point prevalence abstinence (PPA) and prolonged abstinence (PA) were measured up to 3 months following the quit attempt (week 18 follow-up). Results: Consistent with our hypothesis, participants in ST+ABR evidenced higher abstinence rates than those in ST+Sham at the final follow-up (b=0.71, 95 % CI: [0.14, 1.27], t=2.46, p = 0.014, OR=2.03, 95 % CI: [1.15, 3.57]). Specifically, PPA and PA rates were 50 % and 66 % in ST+ABR compared to 31 % and 47 % in ST+Sham. As expected, participants assigned to the ST+ABR condition also showed a greater training-compatible increase in avoidance tendency scores relative to those assigned to the ST+Sham condition (b=248.06, 95 % CI: [148.51, 347,62], t=4.96, p < .001). Conclusions: The current pilot randomized clinical trial provides initial evidence for the efficacy of integrating standard smoking cessation with ABR. These findings encourage the testing of the long-term efficacy and mechanisms of action of this integrated intervention.
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