The purpose of the study was to investigate the changing effects in the daily variations in the desire to smoke and the negative risk associated with relapses among the adolescents after achieving a minimum of 24 hours of abstinence. Previous research indicates that most of the research work has been on the relapse among adult smokers. Literature concerning relapse among adolescents’ smokers is limited. In some of the studies, it has been established that the prevalence of quit attempts among the adolescents between 10 and 19 years has been quite high (over 50%). Further, only a small percentage reverted to smoking after quitting the first week (34%), 89% reverted to smoking after quitting for one month and 92% reverted to smoking after quitting for one year. Based on such statistics it is evident that the levels of relapsing are almost similar to those in adults. Thus, this current study tries to establish how the daily variations in nicotine can have a negative effect on adolescent relapse. Therefore, this study aimed at providing more literature to assist in understanding how nicotine contributes to relapse and provide more information regarding the relapse process.
The first hypothesis to be tested was how increases in desire to smoke and negative effect were likely to predict the first lapse and relapse the following day after attaining a one day abstinence. The second hypothesis was the suggested effects of desire to smoke and negative influence on first lapse and relapse were likely to hold while regulating smoking and standard measures of nicotine dependence, desire to smoke and depressive symptoms.
The study involves 176 Dutch adolescents who were daily smokers. For purposes of the study, the recruitment was done via media advertisements and it required the participants to be in the process of quitting or intended to quit smoking. The age required for the study was between 15 and 19 years. 63.7% of the participants were female. A questionnaire was used in the study and the participants were observed for a period of four weeks. Every day of observation the participants filled a questionnaire, which was Internet based. In the first seven days, the participants were required to smoke ad lib and were expected to quit on the eighth day. Complete abstinence on this day was not mandatory. Three measures were applied. The first involved the use of the Wisconsin Smoking Withdrawal Scale for assessing the daily desire to smoke and negative effect. The second measure involved assessing simultaneous smoking and the third measure involved assessing nicotine dependence.
A major strength in the methodology involved the use of the Wisconsin Smoking Withdrawal Scale that has been proved sufficient in providing good validity with high reliabilities.
A major limitation in the research study was the high number of Caucasian participants. These were 95% of the sample. This implies that the study cannot be generalized for a non-white population. This is because based on previous studies ethnicity tends to have a significant influence on quitting smoking.
The study provides a significant insight on the way forward when dealing with smoking in adolescents. It is evident that the use of pharmacotherapy can be effective compared to using nicotine patches. However, the implications of any pharmacotherapy used need to be first evaluated before implementing them on the adolescents. Furthermore, adolescents need more supervision after quitting smoking to make sure incidences of relapse do not occur.
Van Zundert, R. M., Ferguson, S. G., Shiffman, S., & Engels, R. (2011, September 26).
Psychology. Advance online publication.