Reducing approach bias to achieve smoking cessation : a pilot randomized placebo-controlled trial

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Baird, Scarlett O'hara

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This study aimed to provide a preliminary test of the efficacy of a brief cognitive bias modification program for reducing approach bias in adult smokers motivated to quit. Participants were 52 smokers who were randomly assigned to four sessions of approach bias modification training (AAT) or sham training. Participants were asked to make a self-guided quit attempt upon completion of the final training session. Approach bias was assessed at baseline and at the end of each session, and days abstinent was assessed 1-week following the quit attempt. Individuals assigned to the AAT training condition evidenced significantly greater reductions in approach bias relative to those in the sham condition (p<.001). Baseline approach bias did not moderate the between-group effect (ps>.41); however, higher levels of approach bias at baseline were associated with greater approach bias reduction over time (p<.001). Consistent with prediction, the reduction in approach bias during the intervention period was significantly related to the number of days abstinent following the quit attempt (p=.033). The present study extends recent work in alcohol use disorders by showing that approach bias reduction, in this case for smoking-related stimuli, may also facilitate smoking cessation. Clinical and research implications are discussed.



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