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Do Couple-Focused Cessation Messages Increase Motivation to Quit Among Dual-Smoker Couples?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2018

Michelle R. vanDellen*
Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Megan A. Lewis
Patient & Family Engagement Research, RTI International, Seattle, Washington
Benjamin A. Toll
Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina and Hollings Cancer Center, Charleston, South Carolina
Isaac M. Lipkus
School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Address for correspondence: Michelle R. vanDellen, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Email:


Introduction: Dual-smoker couples are a highly prevalent group who report low motivation to quit smoking.

Aims: This study tested the effect of a messaging intervention (couples- vs. individual-focused smoking outcomes) on motivation to quit among dual-smoker couples and examined the moderating effect of perceived support.

Methods: A total of 202 individuals in 101 dual-smoker couples were randomized by dyad using a 2 (frame: gain/loss) by 2 (outcome focus: individual/couple) factorial design. Participants reviewed scenarios of either positive or negative outcomes of quitting versus not quitting as they applied to either the individual or the couple. Participants then reported their own motivation to quit and motivation for their partner to quit. The main outcome was motivation to quit smoking.

Results: No main effects of framing or message focus emerged. Significant interactions between message focus and negative support predicted motivation for self and partner to quit. Individuals who reported lower negative support reported greater motivation for self to quit and less motivation for partner to quit after reviewing couple- (vs. individual-) focused messages.

Conclusions: Individuals in dual-smoker couples typically report low motivation to quit smoking. Couple-focused messages may increase motivation to quit among individuals who are not receiving negative support from their partners.

Original Articles
Copyright © The Author(s) 2018 

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