Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the Emotions of Smokers During the Contemplation Stage of Smoking Cessation: A Multiple-Case Study
by Shake, Linda Marie, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2016, 156; 10172388
Abstract (Summary)

Cognitive and behavioral approaches to smoking cessation have been the primary focus in smoking cessation literature with minimal attention given to the emotional component of the process. Smoking cessation strategies may be most effective when implemented during the contemplation stage of smoking cessation, which involves two processes of change: consciousness raising and self-reevaluation. The purpose of this qualitative, multiple-case study was to address the emotional component of smoking cessation by exploring the emotions smokers experienced during the contemplation stage of smoking cessation, specifically the emotions related to consciousness raising and self-reevaluation. I recruited a purposive sample of seven contemplation-stage smokers ages 43 to 79 from the Family Counseling Center and Corpus Christi Family Medicine in Corpus Christi, Texas. I recruited participants by posting flyers and through snowball sampling. I collected data by means of in-depth, open-ended, semistructured interviews. Overall, eight themes emerged from the analysis: (a) fear of developing smoking-related illness, (b) feelings of entrapment, (c) inner conflict, (d) a sense of freedom, (e) anxiety related to finding alternatives to smoking, (f) fear of being unable to quit, (g) loss of family relationships and connections, and (h) determination to quit. I identified a range of emotions experienced by contemplation-stage smokers, specifically the emotions related to consciousness raising and self-reevaluation. These emotions included fear, shame, embarrassment, helplessness, guilt, frustration, anger, resentment, and sadness. Participants described grief related to family relationships fragmented by smoking, as well as emotional states of anxiety, panic, and inner conflict. Significantly, contemplation-stage smokers struggled with fears of developing smoking-related illnesses and associated these fears with feelings of being trapped by smoking. The findings suggested that feelings of entrapment might contribute to keeping the smoker immobilized in the contemplation stage, preventing movement toward more advanced stages of change. Health professionals were encouraged to explore feelings of entrapment as a way of opening new avenues for smokers seeking to quit. Recommendations for future research include exploring possible gender differences in the emotions experienced in the contemplation stage of smoking cessation and obtaining a more balanced distribution of ethnicity among participants. Quantitative investigations and longitudinal studies are recommended for follow-up research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jennings, Miranda
Commitee: Shaw, Melanie, Velkova, Gergana
School: Northcentral University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology
Keywords: Contemplation stage, Emotions, Emotions and smoking, Smoking cessation, Transtheoretical model
Publication Number: 10172388
ISBN: 978-1-369-27154-6
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