Pain-related Anxiety and Smoking Processes: The Explanatory Role of Dysphoria



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Scientific evidence suggests that pain-related anxiety may contribute to the maintenance of tobacco addiction among smokers with varying levels of pain. Yet, no work has investigated the relation between pain-related anxiety and cognitive-based smoking processes within an indirect effect model. Dysphoria may explain the relation between pain-related anxiety and cigarette smoking, as this construct relates to both pain and smoking outcomes. Thus, the current cross-sectional study examined the indirect effect of pain-related anxiety and three clinically significant smoking processes: perceived barriers to cessation, negative affect reduction motives, and negative mood abstinence expectancies via dysphoria. Participants included 101 (Mean age=32.74 years, SD=13.60; 35.6% female) adult tobacco cigarette smokers with low cigarette dependence. Results indicated that pain-related anxiety had an indirect effect on all dependent variables through dysphoria. The current findings provide evidence that dysphoria may serve to maintain maladaptive smoking processes in smokers who experience pain-related anxiety. This study furthers research on pain-smoking relations by providing initial evidence for a conceptual model in which smokers with elevated pain-related anxiety endorse greater dysphoric symptoms and use smoking to reduce or escape symptoms of their pain-related anxiety and dysphoria, thus contributing to the maintenance of tobacco dependence.