Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

January 2007


Published in Addictive Behaviors 32:1 (January 2007), pp. 90-98; doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.03.023 Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


The present study tested the hypothesis that impulsivity would predict perceptions of positive and negative reinforcement from smoking. The secondary hypothesis was that the relationship between impulsivity and smoking reinforcement expectations would be mediated by the character trait of self-directedness. College students (n= 202) who reported smoking cigarettes participated in the survey study. Hierarchical regression analyses confirmed that impulsivity predicted expectations about positive (β = .22, p = .001) and negative (β = .25, p = .001) reinforcement from smoking. These relationships were also mediated by self-directedness. Results suggest that impulsive smokers in the early stages of dependence may smoke because they expect smoking to be extremely pleasurable as well as to help dispel bouts with negative affect. Furthermore, their elevated expectations about smoking may be related to difficulties adapting to challenging environments and working toward long-term goals.