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Predicting use of assistance when quitting: a longitudinal study of the role of quitting beliefs.



A growing literature addresses the need to reduce cigarette smoking prevalence by increasing the use of assistance when quitting. A key focus is to identify strategies for enhancing adoption of effective interventions in order to increase utilization of evidence-based treatments.


To examine the effect of beliefs regarding ability to quit on utilization of assistance for smoking cessation. A mediation model was hypothesized whereby the relationship between smoking and use of assistance is influenced by beliefs in ability to quit.


The present study includes 474 of 1000 respondents to baseline and follow-up California Smokers Cohort surveys conducted from 2011 to 2013. Included were baseline smokers who reported a 24-h quit attempt at follow-up. Baseline variables were used to predict use of assistance when quitting.


The hypothesized model was tested using a product of coefficients method, controlling for demographics. Greater heaviness of smoking and lower belief in ability to quit were significantly related to use of assistance. Quitting beliefs significantly mediated the relationship between nicotine dependence and use of assistance.


The present data support a mechanism whereby the effect of smoking rate on treatment utilization is mediated by beliefs in ability to quit. Greater belief in one's ability to quit may represent an obstacle to treatment utilization by reducing the likelihood of successful cessation. The present findings suggest the value of targeted messages from health care providers that normalize the need for assistance when attempting to change an addictive behavior and emphasize the difficulty of quitting without assistance.

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