Latent Classes of Quitting Smokers: Who Will Relapse?

stl_savOctober 25, 2016:

Research indicates that withdrawal is one of the primary reasons that people do not quit smoking (Piper, 2015). Improving our understanding of withdrawal may allow us to better support people who wish to quit smoking. In a new article in Addiction, “What a difference a day makes:  Differences in initial abstinence response during a smoking cessation attempt,” the authors present a latent class analysis (LCA) that identifies four types of smokers based on their withdrawal symptoms on the day they quit. They found that a subset of quitting smokers reported extreme craving or extreme negative affect, and that this predicted earlier relapse.

The authors analyzed data from 1236 participants in a smoking cessation trial who provided ecological momentary assessments (EMA) of their withdrawal symptoms on the day that they quit smoking.  The LCA model incorporated participant reports of hunger, poor concentration, negative mood, cigarette craving, and anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure). The authors identified four classes of smokers: High-Craving Anhedonia, Moderate Withdrawal, Affective Withdrawal, and Hunger. The Moderate Withdrawal class comprised 64% of the sample and was characterized by lower symptom levels. The High-Craving Anhedonia class comprised 8% of the sample and was characterized by high levels of craving and anhedonia. The Affective Withdrawal class comprised 13% of the sample and was characterized by high levels of poor concentration and negative mood. The Hunger class comprised 15% of the sample and was characterized by high levels of hunger but low levels of the other measures.

Among other results, the authors found that members of the High-Craving Anhedonia and Affective Withdrawal classes returned to regular smoking sooner than members of the Moderate Withdrawal class.

Methodology Center investigators Sara Vasilenko and Stephanie Lanza conducted this research with Megan Piper and Jessica Cook of The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. This LCA in this article is not especially complex and could be understood by people who are relatively new to the method.  The article does not, however, describe LCA extensively and is not intended as an introduction to the method. For an introduction to LCA, please see our recommended reading list.

Read the article. (Journal access required.)

 

References

Piper, M. E., Vasilenko, S. A., Cook, J. W., & Lanza, S. T. (2016). What a difference a day makes: Differences in initial abstinence response during a smoking cessation attempt. Addiction. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/add.13613

Piper, M.E. (2015). Withdrawal: expanding a key addiction construct. Nicotine and Tobacco Research. 17(12), 1405-15.

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