Category: Addictive Behaviors

PS15- #A2 - Trait Mindfulness Predicts Nicotine Withdrawal Symptom Severity in Anxiety-Sensitive Female Smokers

Sunday, Nov 19
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Mindfulness | Smoking | Anxiety Sensitivity

Mindfulness involves attending non-judgmentally to the present moment-to-moment experience without judgment or reaction. In this way, practicing mindfulness following a smoking quit attempt (termed “urge surfing” in the substance use literature) has been shown to promote early nicotine abstinence. A growing body of literature promotes the clinical utility of mindfulness-based interventions for smoking cessation. Less research, however, has focused on examining the association between trait mindfulness and symptoms of acute withdrawal in smokers. In individuals with anxiety sensitivity (AS), who are prone to withdrawal-related relapse due to sensitivity to shifts in internal states, examination of this relation may be particularly crucial. Accordingly, the present investigation examines the predictive effect of trait mindfulness and its identified sub-facets (observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judgmental acceptance, and non-reactivity) on withdrawal symptom severity in high-AS smokers. Participants were 31 female smokers (Mage = 29.12, SD = 7.97) with elevated AS (scoring ≥ 20 on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI)) drawn from an RCT examining an 8-week yoga intervention for smoking cessation. We conducted two separate multiple regression analyses (controlling for study condition assignment) to test (1) the predictive validity of FFMQ Total Score (M = 126.1) and (2) predictive validity of FFMQ subscales with respect to post-quit withdrawal as measured by Minnesota Nicotine Withdrawal Scale–Revised (MNWS-R) scores (M = 3.05, SD = .538). Nicotine dependence severity, indexed via the FTND, was included as a covariate. Consistent with hypothesis, above and beyond study condition, FFMQ Total Score negatively predicted MNWS-R (β = -.624; p < .001). Results revealed that greater trait mindfulness levels at baseline were associated with lower withdrawal symptom severity during a post-intervention smoking quit attempt. Regarding sub-facets, we found only Non-reactivity (β = -.524; p < .05) and Describing (β = -.369; p < .05) were significantly negatively associated with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Results suggest that trait mindfulness tendencies may buffer against withdrawal-related distress, and, thus may mitigate risk of relapse for high-AS smokers. Further clinical and research implications will be discussed.

Christina D. Dutcher

Clinical Research Associate and Project Coordinator
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas

Johnna L. Medina

Doctoral Candidate
University of Texas at Austin

Eunjung Lee-Furman

University of Texas at Austin

Andrew Levihn-Coon

University of Texas at Austin

Jasper A. J.. Smits

University of Texas at Austin