Intentions to quit smoking: causal attribution, perceived illness severity, and event-related fear during an acute health event.
ABSTRACT Experiencing a serious consequence related to one's health behavior may motivate behavior change.
This study sought to examine how causal attribution, perceived illness severity, and fear secondary to an acute health event relate to intentions to quit smoking.
Using a cross-sectional survey design, adult emergency department patients who smoked provided demographic data and ratings of nicotine dependence, causal attribution, perceived illness severity, event-related fear, and intentions to quit smoking.
A linear regression analysis was used to examine the relations between the independent variables and quit intentions. We enrolled 186 participants. After adjusting for nicotine dependence, smoking-related causal attribution and event-related fear were associated with intentions to quit (β = 0.26, p < 0.01 and β = 0.21, p < 0.01, respectively). Perceived illness severity was correlated with event-related fear (r = 0.46, p < 0.001) but was not associated with intentions to quit (β = -0.08, p = 0.32).
While causal attribution and event-related fear were modestly associated with quit intentions, perceived illness severity was not. Longitudinal studies are needed to better explicate the relation between these variables and behavior change milestones.