Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Negative Urgency Is Associated With Heightened Negative Affect and Urge During Tobacco Abstinence in Regular Smokers.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


Negative urgency-the tendency to act rashly during negative affective states-is a risk factor for regular cigarette smoking. This human laboratory study tested a novel theoretical model of the underlying mechanisms linking negative urgency and smoking motivation, which purports that smokers with high negative urgency are at increased susceptibility to abstinence-induced increases in negative affect, which, in turn, provokes the urge to smoke to suppress negative affect.


Smokers (N = 180, >10 cigarettes/day) attended a baseline session at which they completed self-report measures of negative urgency and other co-factors and subsequently attended two counterbalanced within-subject experimental sessions (i.e., 16 hours of smoking abstinence or smoking as usual). At both experimental sessions, self-reported tobacco withdrawal symptoms, affect, and smoking urge were assessed.


Negative urgency was associated with larger abstinence-induced increases in tobacco withdrawal symptoms, negative affect, and urge to smoke to alleviate negative affect, both with and without controlling for anxiety, depression, tobacco dependence, and sensation seeking (βs > .18, ps < .05). The association between negative urgency and abstinence-induced increases in urge to smoke to alleviate negative affect was mediated by greater abstinence-induced increases in negative affect (βs > .062, ps = .01).


These results provide initial support of this model by providing evidence that smokers with higher (vs. lower) negative urgency may be more prone to greater negative affect during withdrawal, which in turn may promote urge to smoke to suppress negative emotion. Research extending this model to other settings, measures, and methodological approaches may be fruitful.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item