Requests for reprints should be sent to Stephen Sutton, ICRF Health Behaviour Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, 101 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, England.
Microanalysis of Smokers' Beliefs about the Consequences of Quitting: Results from a Large Population Sample1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 20, Issue 22, pages 1847–1862, December 1990
How to Cite
Sutton, S., Marsh, A. and Matheson, J. (1990), Microanalysis of Smokers' Beliefs about the Consequences of Quitting: Results from a Large Population Sample. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20: 1847–1862. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1990.tb01514.x
We thank the Medical Research Council and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund for financial support and our colleagues in the Smoking Section of the Addiction Research Unit and the ICRF Health Behaviour Unit for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Using an expectancy-value approach, personal beliefs about the consequences of quitting were studied in a sample of 1,305 cigarette smokers derived from a representative sample of the United Kingdom population. Subjects evaluated 32 outcomes of continuing to smoke or stopping smoking in terms of how much they “wanted” or “feared” them (outcome evaluation, or OE) and then rated the likelihood of each outcome occurring under the two alternatives, yielding a likelihood difference (LD) score for each outcome. Subjects with relatively strong and relatively weak intentions to try to quit were compared with respect to their OE, LD, and OE × LD scores. The results showed consistent differences between intenders and nonintenders. Intenders rated every positive outcome as more desirable and every negative outcome as more undesirable. Intenders also believed that stopping smoking would lead to a larger increase in their chances of obtaining the benefits (health, financial, social, self-esteem) and a smaller increase in their chances of incurring the costs (negative affect, loss of enjoyment), compared with nonintenders. The product scores showing the largest relationships with intention were for the outcomes “feel proud of yourself”, “feel a sense of achievement”, “enjoy yourself”, “feel energetic”, and “set a good example to children”. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for efforts to encourage more smokers to try to quit.