Psychology of addictive behaviors : journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors

Reinforcement sensitivity underlying treatment-seeking smokers' affect, smoking reinforcement motives, and affective responses.

PMID 25621416


Nicotine dependence has been suggested to be related to reinforcement sensitivity, which encompasses behavioral predispositions either to avoid aversive (behavioral inhibition) or to approach appetitive (behavioral activation) stimuli. Reinforcement sensitivity may shape motives for nicotine use and offer potential targets for personalized smoking cessation therapy. However, little is known regarding how reinforcement sensitivity is related to motivational processes implicated in the maintenance of smoking. Additionally, women and men differ in reinforcement sensitivity, and such difference may cause distinct relationships between reinforcement sensitivity and motivational processes for female and male smokers. In this study, the authors characterized reinforcement sensitivity in relation to affect, smoking-related reinforcement motives, and affective responses, using self-report and psychophysiological measures, in over 200 smokers before treating them. The Behavioral Inhibition/Activation Scales (BIS/BAS; Carver & White, 1994) was used to measure reinforcement sensitivity. In female and male smokers, BIS was similarly associated with negative affect and negative reinforcement of smoking. However, positive affect was positively associated with BAS Drive scores in male smokers, and this association was reversed in female smokers. BIS was positively associated with corrugator electromyographic reactivity toward negative stimuli and left frontal electroencephalogram alpha asymmetry. Female and male smokers showed similar relationships for these physiological measures. These findings suggest that reinforcement sensitivity underpins important motivational processes (e.g., affect), and gender is a moderating factor for these relationships. Future personalized smoking intervention, particularly among more dependent treatment-seeking smokers, may experiment to target individual differences in reinforcement sensitivity. (PsycINFO Database Record