Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

December 2007


Published in Personality and Individual Differences 43:8 (December 2007), pp. 1969-1979. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Smoking for negative mood alleviation is a strong predictor of early smoking and early dependence among undergraduates. Little is known about whether adaptive cognitive coping processes (e.g., distraction) may help decrease the likelihood of student smoking for negative mood regulation. The present study tested the hypothesis that distraction would predict (a) greater engagement in adaptive pleasant pastimes and (b) lower rates of smoking behavior among undergraduates (n = 162, 41.9% female). We further assessed whether negative mood regulation expectations would explain both relationships. Results indicated that negative mood regulation fully mediated the relationship between distraction and engagement in pleasurable activities among college smokers. Although the relationships among distraction, negative mood regulation, and cigarette consumption were not significant, they were in the expected direction (negative). Results from the present study point to the importance of prevention efforts focused on enhancing cognitive coping skills in college smokers. Such a focus may lead to more frequent adaptive cognitive coping during negative mood states, presumably instead of smoking.