Pain severity as a predictor of negative affect following a self-guided quit attempt: An ecological momentary assessment study

Background: Past work has documented bidirectional associations between pain and cigarette smoking behaviors such that those who smoke evidence greater pain, and those in pain tend to smoke more. However, such work has not focused on the role of pain in relation to negative affect, which plays an important role during cessation attempts. Objective: The current study evaluated pain as a predictor of negative affect as well as level of interference associated with negative affect among individuals undergoing a self-guided quit attempt. Methods: Study variables were assessed via ecological momentary assessment (EMA) during the 2 weeks following a self-guided quit attempt. Participants included 54 daily smokers (33.3% female; Mage = 34.7, SD = 13.9). Results: There were statistically significant within-person associations of pain ratings with negative affect and interference due to negative affect, such that greater pain was associated with higher levels of each dependent variable. Additionally, there was a within-person effect of smoking status (i.e., smoking vs. abstinence, measured via EMA) on negative affect, but not ratings of interference; smoking was associated with greater negative affect. Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of bodily pain in relation to negative mood following a quit attempt. Clinically, the results suggest a greater focus on the experience of pain during quit attempts may be warranted.