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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Distress Tolerance Treatment for Smoking Cessation


We previously developed a distress tolerance (DT)-based treatment that showed promising results for smokers with a history of early lapse. In the current study, we conducted a randomized controlled trial of this DT treatment for a general population of smokers not limited to those with a history of early lapse. We randomized 116 participants (41% female) to DT or standard treatment (ST). Both treatments included 1 individual session during Week 1 followed by 7 group sessions during Weeks 2-9 (quit date at Session 4), two 20-min phone sessions, and 8 weeks of transdermal nicotine patch. Results indicated no significant differences between conditions in the primary outcome of biochemically verified 7-day point prevalence smoking abstinence or in time to 1st lapse. Verified abstinence rates in DT were 38.7%, 38.7%, 46.77%, 40.32%, 20.9%, and 17.7% versus 40.7%, 37.0%, 53.7%, 44.4%, 33.3%, and 22.2% in ST at 1, 2, 4, 8, 13, and 26 weeks postquit, respectively. Additionally, we found no significant moderators of treatment efficacy and few differences in treatment process variables. These findings stand somewhat in contrast to those in our previous study and other recent studies of similar acceptance-based treatments. However, differences in methodology, inclusion of nicotine replacement therapy in both treatment conditions, and strict inclusion-exclusion criteria that excluded many smokers with affective vulnerabilities may underlie this discrepancy. Future research should evaluate the utility of DT and other acceptance-based treatments in populations with affective vulnerabilities who might specifically benefit from a DT-based approach. (PsycINFO Database Record

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