Stress, Depression and Quit Attempt Outcomes among Unmotivated Smokers.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2021.1936053


Introduction: Stress and depressive symptoms have been linked to a reduced likelihood of sustaining smoking cessation. Because stress and depressive symptoms may negatively affect motivation to quit, stress and depression may also be important for whether or not smokers make a quit attempt.

Objective: To examine the relationship between perceived stress and depressive symptoms and initiating a quit attempt in a smoking cessation induction trial.

Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of existing data from a randomized clinical trial (N = 255) comparing motivational interviewing to health education and brief advice for smoking cessation induction in smokers with low motivation to quit.

Results: We observed positive associations between baseline predictors and quit attempts at week 12 (r = 0.192, p < 0.01 for depressive symptoms and r = 0.136, p < 0.05 for perceived stress). Logistic regression models revealed similar significant positive associations between baseline perceived stress and baseline depressive symptoms and making a quit attempt by week 12 (OR = 1.5, CI:1.03, 2.19 and OR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.06; respectively).

Conclusion: Unexpectedly, this study found generally small but consistently positive associations between baseline depressive symptoms and baseline perceived stress and making a quit attempt by week 12. The results can be viewed as encouraging in that interventions to encourage quit attempts do not appear counter-productive for individuals higher in stress and depressive symptoms, but these patients very likely will need additional supports to sustain abstinence.

Journal Title

Substance use & misuse





First Page


Last Page



Tobacco control; smoking cessation

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