Influence of nicotine on positive affect in anhedonic smokers

Jessica Werth Cook, Bonnie Spring, Dennis McChargue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Rationale: The possibility that individuals administer nicotine to self-regulate persistent negative affect has received interest as a possible explanation for the high prevalence of affectively vulnerable smokers. Relatively overlooked, however, is the possibility that smokers might also self-administer nicotine to elevate low positive affect. Objectives: This study examined whether nicotine administration augmented anhedonic smokers' positive affective response to a positive mood induction. Materials and methods: Fifty regular smokers (50% female) underwent two positive mood inductions during which they smoked either a nicotinized or denicotinized cigarette in counterbalanced order. Positive affect was assessed before and at two time points after smoking. Results: Random effects regression showed a significant anhedonia by condition-by-time interaction [t(181)=-2.01, p = 0.04], supporting the hypothesis that anhedonia moderated nicotine's effect on changes in positive affect. Simple effect analyses showed a significant condition-by-time interaction among high anhedonic smokers [t(91)= 2.47, p = 0.01] but not among less anhedonic smokers [t(91)= 0.34, p = 0.73]. Conclusion: Smoking nicotine vs placebo heightened anhedonic smokers' ability to be induced into a positive mood, whereas nicotine had no effect on more hedonic smokers' positive mood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Anhedonia
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Negative affect
  • Positive affect
  • Positive mood induction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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