Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Despite well-documented negative effects of smoking, many individuals continue to smoke. Anxiety and depression are associated with poorer cessation outcomes. Three transdiagnostic factors may explain the anxiety/depression-smoking link: anxiety sensitivity (AS), distress tolerance (DT), anhedonia (Anh; Leventhal & Zvolensky, 2015). It therefore follows that changing AS, DT, and Anh could aid cessation efforts. Thus, the current study tested the efficacy of hatha yoga for reducing craving, smoking, AS, and Anh and increasing DT, and whether anxiety/depression moderates these relationships. Participants were 55 community-recruited smokers (62% male, 71% non-Hispanic White, Mage = 28.16) motivated to reduce or quit smoking. We randomized participants to one session of hatha yoga (n = 25) or wellness control (n = 30) on their intervention day (when they planned to begin to reduce or quit smoking). We asked them to use the provided intervention materials daily for a week. Hatha yoga was associated with less post-intervention craving but not fewer follow-up cigarettes per day than control. Anxiety/depression did not moderate these relationships. Hatha yoga was associated with less follow-up AS than the control condition. We found a significant Condition x Anxiety/Depression interaction, such that among participants with high anxiety/depression, those in the hatha yoga condition reported less follow-up AS than those in the control condition. Hatha yoga did not impact DT or Anh. In sum, hatha yoga acutely reduces craving but does not impact smoking. Hatha yoga decreased AS, especially among individuals with higher anxiety/depression, a group at particular risk for poorer smoking cessation outcomes.



Committee Chair

Buckner, Julia