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Randomised controlled trials of attentional bias retraining in smokers

Begh, Rachna Aziz (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Smokers attend preferentially to smoking-related cues in the environment, known as attentional bias. Evidence suggests that attentional bias is related to craving and relapse. Attentional retraining (AR) procedures have been used in laboratory studies to modify attentional bias and processes related to drug use, but investigations on the clinical value of AR in addiction are scarce. This thesis reports on two randomised controlled trials investigating the efficacy of AR with modified visual probe tasks in smokers. The first study explored the effects of varying the length of AR on attentional bias, craving, mood and withdrawal in current smokers. No retraining effects were observed after either a short, medium or long block of AR. The second study explored the efficacy of AR on attentional bias and smoking cessation outcomes in treatment-seeking smokers. While AR procedures were feasible to deliver within smoking cessation clinics, the intervention did not significantly reduce attentional bias, craving, withdrawal symptoms or the likelihood of relapse. These results and the literature in general show that there is no clear association between attentional bias and craving and relapse. Current AR procedures are not effective in smokers and should not be used in smoking cessation treatments, as they currently stand.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Aveyard, Paul
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Department:School of Health and Population Sciences, Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences
Subjects:RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4949
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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