Pre-cessation depressive mood predicts failure to quit smoking: the role of coping and personality traits
To examine whether mood, personality and coping predict smoking cessation and whether the associations of personality and coping are mediated through depressed mood. Setting
Multicenter (n = 8) smoking cessation trial. Participants
A total of 600 smokers (≥ 15 cigarettes/day) without current depression who participated in a smoking cessation study. Measurements
The outcome was continuous abstinence during the last 4 weeks of the 3-month trial: depressed mood was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), personality by the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and coping by the Revised Ways of Coping Checklist (RWCC). Findings
A total of 14.7% (88/600) were abstainers. Controlling for potential confounders, baseline BDI independently predicted smoking cessation. Smokers with BDI ≥ 10 were less likely to quit than those with BDI < 10 (odds ratio: 6.39, 95% CI: 1.44–28.3, P = 0.01). Compared to BDI < 10 smokers, BDI ≥ 10 smokers had significantly higher scores for neuroticism and lower scores for extraversion and conscientiousness (NEO-PI-R). On the RWCC, BDI ≥ 10 smokers scored higher for blame self, wishful thinking and problem avoidance and they scored lower on problem focus than smokers with BDI < 10. A mediational analysis showed that neither personality traits nor coping skills predicted directly smoking cessation. However, low level of problem focusing and social support seeking predicted a negative outcome via depressed mood. Conclusion
A BDI score ≥ 10, even in smokers who do not meet a current diagnosis of major depression, directly predicts inability to quit. This suggests the utility of assessing depression symptoms in routine smoking cessation care.