Distress Tolerance Treatment for Early-Lapse Smokers: Rationale, Program Description, and Preliminary Findings

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APA Citation: 

Brown, R. A., Palm, K. M., Strong, D. R., Lejuez, C. W., Kahler, C. W., Zvolensky, M. J., Hayes, S. C., Wilson, K. G., & Gifford, E. V. (2008). Distress tolerance treatment for early-lapse smokers: Rationale, program description, and preliminary findings. Behavior Modification, 32 (3), 302-332.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Empirical
Publication Type: 
smoking cessation; distress tolerance; acceptance

A significant percentage of individuals attempting smoking cessation lapse within a matter of days, and very few are able to recover to achieve long-term abstinence. This observation suggests that many smokers may have quit attempt histories characterized exclusively by early lapses to smoking following quit attempts. Recent negative-reinforcement conceptualizations of early lapse to smoking suggest that individuals’ reactions to withdrawal and inability to tolerate the experience of these symptoms, rather than withdrawal severity itself, may represent an important treatment target in the development of new behavioral interventions for this subpopulation of smokers. This article presents the theoretical rationale and describes a novel,multicomponent distress-tolerance treatment for early-lapse smokers that incorporates behavioral and pharmacological elements of standard smoking cessation treatment, whereas drawing distress-tolerance elements from exposure-based and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy–based treatment approaches. Preliminary data from a pilot study (N = 16) are presented, and clinical implications are discussed.

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