Establishing a Gender-Sensitive Smoking Cessation Intervention
Andrea Weinberger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Annual smoking quit rates continue to demonstrate that women are less likely to quit smoking than men; and first-line treatments, such as the nicotine patch, are less effective in smoking cessation for women than men. In earlier work conducted by Drs. Weinberger and Sherry McKee, it was found that women have different perceived risks associated with quitting than men. In particular, women are more likely to be concerned about weight gain, mood regulation, stress management, and negative mood than are men. Because of the strong relationship for women between these concerns and smoking cessation outcomes, a promising area for the development of a behavioral treatment is to target sex-specific perceived risks associated with quitting.
Highlighted Study Findings
Dr. Weinberger’s study is developing the foundation for smoking cessation interventions in which behavioral treatments are tailored to individual female smokers’ perceived risks of quitting smoking. She is creating the basis for a standardized approach that can be tailored to particular needs, and will allow the treatment to address a wide range of individual smokers. In addition, Dr. Weinberger envisions adapting the tailored treatments to formats, such as web-based information, that would allow for economical and widespread dissemination, thus making a substantial impact on improving quit rates for women and men, and reducing the damaging health consequences of smoking. Dr. Weinberger has completed development of a 50-page treatment manual of cognitive-behavioral counseling sessions related to perceived risks of smoking. The manual will be used in a pilot study, which is currently initiating recruitment, involving female smokers receiving tailored treatment as compared to a control group, to assess the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of the tailored approach.