The relationship between depression level and smoking motives in college smokers

Christine Vinci, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, USA.
Megan M. McVay
Amy L. Copeland
Maureen H. Carrigan


While the link between cigarette smoking and depression symptomatology has been well established, more research is needed to determine how smoking motives are related to depression levels in smokers. Specifically, smoking motives related to the friendship-like attachment to smoking (i.e., affiliative attachment) may play an important role in individuals reporting depressive symptomatology. The present study examined the relationship between three smoking motives and depression levels in a sample of 79 mildly nicotine-dependent, college student cigarette smokers. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted with depression as the dependent variable and gender and cigarettes per day as the independent variables (Step 1), positive and negative reinforcement motives (Step 2), and affiliative attachment motives (Step 3). Results of regression analyses indicated that affiliative attachment motives explained significant variance in participant depression level above and beyond that explained by positive and negative reinforcement motives. These findings suggest that smokers with elevated depression should be assessed for social functioning and affiliative attachment smoking motives, and future research should be conducted to determine if individuals with high levels of affiliative attachment may benefit from smoking cessation treatment programs with an enhanced social support component.