Social Anxiety and Smoking Cessation Difficulties: The Moderating Role of Negative Urgency



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During socially stressful situations, heightened levels of anxiety and low levels of confidence have been linked to stronger smoking urges (Niaura et al., 2002). One such mechanism may be negative urgency, defined as the tendency to act rashly in response to a negative affect. Relapse following smoking cessation has been associated with negative affect (Shiffman, 1982). Negative urgency partially mediated the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and negative reinforcement-related smoking expectancies (Guillot et al., 2014). This study examines the association between social anxiety symptoms and smoking cessation difficulties, and the moderating role of negative urgency in this relation. As expected, social anxiety symptoms was significantly related to smoking cessation difficulties only among individuals with high levels of negative urgency. Anxiety in social situations may lead high negative urgency individuals to smoke in an effort to reduce negative affect.