Fear of fatness and drive for thinness in predicting smoking status in college women

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Recent research has identified fear of fatness (FF) as a related yet distinct construct from drive for thinness (DT). Whereas DT may be associated with need for approval and an "approach" tendency, FF may be more strongly related to avoidance of disapproval and an avoidant problem-solving style. Although no research has directly compared the influence of FF vs. DT with regard to smoking behavior, FF and DT might represent distinct motivations for smoking. We predicted that both FF and DT would be significantly associated with cigarette smoking, but that FF would be a stronger predictor of smoking behavior, even after controlling for variables such as body mass index (BMI) and nicotine dependence. Participants (N=289) were female college undergraduate students. Daily smokers had the highest scores on measures of DT and FF, followed sequentially by infrequent smokers, "triers," and never smokers. More frequent smokers also reported greater levels of body dissatisfaction and eating pathology than less frequent and never-smokers. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that greater DT predicted higher likelihood of smoking on a daily basis; however, higher FF predicted fewer cigarettes smoked per day. FF and DT may each play a role in the relationship between eating pathology and smoking, but they might be differentially related to specific smoking patterns. Both FF and DT and their coinciding coping styles should be further researched in the role of smoking initiation and maintenance.

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Addictive behaviors

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