A pilot study of pain-related anxiety and smoking-dependence motives among persons with chronic pain

Joseph W. Ditre, Emily L. Zale, Jesse D. Kosiba, Michael J. Zvolensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Complex interactions between pain and tobacco smoking have been of increasing interest to researchers and clinicians from a variety of disciplines. There is also recent evidence to suggest that pain-related anxiety may play an important role in the maintenance of tobacco dependence among persons with comorbid pain disorders. The goal of the current study was to evaluate the explanatory relevance of pain-related anxiety in relation to tobacco dependence among a sample of daily smokers with current chronic pain. Participants were recruited from the general population to complete an online survey that was developed to examine interrelations between chronic pain and tobacco smoking. Fifty-six of 129 (43%) daily smoking respondents met criteria for current chronic pain. Results indicated that pain-related anxiety accounted for a significant portion of the unique variance in total smoking dependence scores, and both primary and secondary dependence composite scores (as measured by the Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives; Piper et al., 2004). It is noteworthy that these effects were observed above and beyond the variance accounted for by relevant sociodemographic factors, generalized anxiety, and pain severity. Pain-related anxiety was observed to be strongly associated with secondary dependence motives, which is consistent with a conceptualization of pain-related anxiety as an instrumental or situational motivator of smoking. These results suggest that tobacco smokers with comorbid pain disorders may be at risk for maintaining or exacerbating their dependence on tobacco, possibly due to individual differences in pain-related anxiety. These findings may help inform the development of tailored interventions for smokers with comorbid chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Dependence
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'A pilot study of pain-related anxiety and smoking-dependence motives among persons with chronic pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this