Predicting Cigarette-Seeking Behavior: How Reward Sensitivity and Positive Emotions Influence Nicotine Cravings

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Abstract:

Reward sensitivity is a primary indicator of impulsive behavior, such as cigarette smoking, and contributes to positive emotional experiences. The aim in this study was to examine smokers' emotional experiences and cravings in relation to their personality traits. Participants were divided into high- and low-reward sensitivity groups, and a procedure aimed at inducing emotions was conducted while physiological responses were recorded. There was a significant difference in the subjective experiences of the 2 groups, and a significant positive correlation existed between a positive emotional experience and craving cigarettes. Furthermore, reward sensitivity induced craving in smokers and the relationship was mediated by positive emotion. We believe that the identified mediating effect of positive emotions on craving could provide a better understanding of maladaptive behavior associated with positive emotion and may play an important role in treatment of nicotine dependence.

Keywords: CIGARETTE SMOKING; CRAVING; POSITIVE EMOTION; REWARD SENSITIVITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2011.39.6.737

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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