Nature and role of change in anxiety sensitivity during NRT-aided cognitive-behavioral smoking cessation treatment

Yaara Assayag, Amit Bernstein, Michael J. Zvolensky, Dan Steeves, Sherry S. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluated the associations between change in anxiety sensitivity (AS; fear of the negative consequences of anxiety and related sensations) and lapse and relapse during a 4-week group NRT-aided cognitive-behavioral Tobacco Intervention Program. Participants were 67 (44 women; M age = 46.2 years, SD = 10.4) adult daily smokers. Results indicated that participants who maintained high levels of AS from pretreatment to 1 month posttreatment, compared to those who demonstrated a significant reduction in AS levels during this time period, showed a significantly increased risk for lapse and relapse. Further inspection indicated that higher continuous levels of AS physical and psychological concerns, specifically among those participants who maintained elevated levels of AS from pre- to posttreatment, predicted significantly greater risk for relapse. Findings are discussed with respect to better understanding change in AS, grounded in an emergent taxonic-dimensional factor mixture model of the construct, with respect to lapse and relapse during smoking cessation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Bernstein recognizes the funding support from the Israeli Council for Higher Education Yigal Alon Fellowship, the European Union FP-7 Marie Curie Fellowship International Reintegration Grant, Psychology Beyond Borders Mission Award, the Israel Science Foundation, the Rothschild-Caesarea Foundation’s Returning Scientists Project at the University of Haifa, and a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical LRP award. Ms. Assayag recognizes the support of the University of Haifa Graduate School. Dr. Stewart was supported by a Killiam Research Professorship from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Science at the time this research was conducted. Data collection was supported by an Idea Research Grant from the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative (15683) awarded to Dr. Stewart, Dr. Zvolensky, and Mr. Steeves. Dr. Zvolensky recognizes funding support from NIDA (R01 DA027533-01, R01 MH076629-01).


  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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