Impulsivity and the reinforcing value of cigarette smoking

Neal Doran, Dennis McChargue, Lee Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Impulsivity
  • Learning
  • Mediation
  • Personality
  • Reinforcement
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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