Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Nicotine as a (Social) Painkiller: An Experimental Investigation on Smokers’ Use of Nicotine to Reduce Social Pain after Social Exclusion Experiences
by Lochbihler, Stephanie L., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2019, 78; 27546028
Abstract (Summary)

Social exclusion is a painful experience and can elicit behaviors to regain affiliation and/or reduce the distress associated with rejection. Previous research has shown a positive correlation between loneliness and smoking behavior. Since smoking can be associated with both social interaction and reduction of negative affect, it is hypothesized that the experience of exclusion in smokers elicits a desire to smoke as a means to regain social connection, or to seek relief for negative affect associated with social rejection. To investigate the effects of social exclusion on smoking behavior, two studies were conducted. Study 1 was designed to determine whether there is a synergistic interaction between nicotine-seeking behavior and desire for social interaction after social exclusion in smokers. Study 2 investigated whether social exclusion increases nicotine consumption, and whether the use of nicotine can reduce pain associated with social exclusion. The results did not support the hypotheses: in study 1, it was found that for higher nicotine-dependent smokers, the experience of social exclusion increased the perceived rewarding value and desire for smoking scenarios. However, there were no significant findings regarding the rewarding value of social (versus alone) scenarios, suggesting that the desire for social affiliation may not be a motivation for smokers when engaging in nicotine-seeking behaviors after social exclusion experiences. In study 2, results did not show that nicotine reduces social pain in excluded individuals; therefore, it seems unlikely that the behavior is for pain relief purposes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smith, Eliot R.
Commitee: Finn, Peter R., Krendl, Anne C., Macy, Jon T.
School: Indiana University
Department: Psychological & Brain Sciences
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-B 81/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Nicotine, Nicotine addiction, Ostracism, Social exclusion
Publication Number: 27546028
ISBN: 9781392746752
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