Cigarette smoking is associated with difficulties in the use of reappraisal for emotion regulation

Paul Faulkner, Sandra Machon, Chris Brown, Marco Sandrini, Sunjeev Kamboj, Paul Allen

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Background: Negative emotions can promote smoking relapse during a quit attempt. The use of cognitive reap- praisal to self-regulate these emotions may therefore aid smoking cessation. Determining whether smokers exhibit difficulties in the use of reappraisal, and which factors are associated with such difficulties, may aid smoking cessations.
Methods: 50 smokers and 50 non-smokers completed an online reappraisal task in which they either reappraised or naturally experienced emotions induced by negatively- and neutrally-valenced images that presented situa- tions in either the 1st-person or 3rd-person perspective. Participants also completed the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS).
Results: Compared to non-smokers, smokers were less successful in using reappraisal to self-regulate emotions elicited by negatively-valenced images (but not neutrally-valenced images). Importantly, this effect was only true for images that were presented in the 1st-person (but not 3rd-person) perspective. Contrary to predictions, there were no group differences in DERS scores.
Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that smokers experience difficulties in the use of reappraisal, particularly in situations that appear to be happening to themselves. Because the use of this regulation technique may help smokers to quit, improving smokers’ abilities to use reappraisal, particularly during negatively- valenced situations that directly influence the smoker, may aid smoking cessation.

© 2022, Elsevier Ltd. The attached document (embargoed until 24/03/2023) is an author produced version of a paper published in DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2022


  • Smoking
  • Emotion Regulatin
  • Cognitive Reappraisal

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