Depressive symptoms are associated with poor smoking cessation outcomes and there remains continued interest in behavioral interventions that simultaneously target smoking and depressive symptomatology. This pilot study examined whether a behavioral activation treatment for smoking can enhance cessation outcomes.
A sample of 68 adult smokers with mildly elevated depressive symptoms (M = 43.8 years old, 48.5% female, 72.7% African-American) seeking smoking cessation treatment were randomized to receive either behavioral activation treatment for smoking (BATS) paired with standard smoking cessation strategies including nicotine replacement therapy (n = 35) or standard smoking cessation strategies (ST) alone including nicotine replacement therapy (n = 33). BATS and ST were matched for contact time and included 8 sessions of group-based treatment. Quit date was assigned to occur at session 4 for each treatment condition. Participants completed a baseline assessment, and measures of smoking cessation outcomes (7-day verified point prevalence abstinence), depressive symptoms (BDI-II), and enjoyment from daily activities (EROS) were obtained at 1, 4, 16, and 26 weeks post assigned quit date.
Across the follow-ups over 26 weeks, participants in BATS reported greater smoking abstinence (adjusted odds ratio = 3.59; 95% confidence interval = 1.22, 10.53; p =.02) than did those in ST. Participants in BATS also reported a greater reduction in depressive symptoms (B = -1.99, SE = .86, p = .02) than did those in ST.
Results suggest BATS is a promising intervention that may promote smoking cessation and improve depressive symptoms among underserved smokers of diverse backgrounds.
Keywords: smoking cessation, behavioral activation, depressive symptoms, low income and minority smokers