A comparison of emotion regulation strategies in response to craving cognitions: Effects on smoking behaviour, craving and affect in dependent smokers

Matthew Beadman, Ravi K Das, Tom P Freeman, Peter Scragg, Robert West, Sunjeev K Kamboj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (SciVal)


AIM: The effects of three emotion regulation strategies that targeted smoking-related thoughts were compared on outcomes relevant to smoking cessation.

METHOD: Daily smokers applied defusion (n = 25), reappraisal (n = 25) or suppression (n = 23) to thoughts associated with smoking during a cue-induced craving procedure. Smoking behaviour, approach/avoidance behavioural bias, and subjective measures of experiential avoidance, craving, and affect were assessed during the experimental session, with additional behavioural and subjective outcomes assessed at 24 h and seven day follow-up. The influence of baseline group differences in smoking level and nicotine dependence were explored statistically.

RESULTS: Defusion and reappraisal were associated with greater restraint in smoking behaviour in the immediate post-session period as well as reduction in smoking at seven day follow-up compared to suppression. Relative to suppression, reduced subjective craving was seen in the reappraisal group, and reduced experiential avoidance in the defusion group. Differences in approach/avoidance responses to smoking and neutral cues were observed only between the suppression and reappraisal groups. Although suppression was rated as lower in both credibility and strategy-expectancy compared to defusion and reappraisal, neither credibility nor expectancy mediated the effect of any strategy on changes in levels of smoking.

CONCLUSION: Defusion and reappraisal produced similar benefits in smoking-related behavioural outcomes but, relative to suppression, were associated with distinctive outcomes on experiential avoidance and craving. The effects appear to be independent of perceived expectancy and credibility of the different strategies. Overall, the results suggest a role for reappraisal and defusion strategies in the development of psychological treatments for addiction-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Early online date31 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Adult
  • Affect/physiology
  • Cognitive Therapy/methods
  • Craving/physiology
  • Cues
  • Emotions/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking/physiopathology
  • Smoking Cessation/methods
  • Social Control, Formal/methods
  • Tobacco Use Disorder/physiopathology
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of emotion regulation strategies in response to craving cognitions: Effects on smoking behaviour, craving and affect in dependent smokers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this