The Role of Pain Avoidance in the Relation between Pain Intensity and Smoking Cessation Processes

Devanshi Mistry, Tanya Smit, Joseph W. Ditre, Jafar Bakhshaie, Michael J. Zvolensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scientific evidence suggests that smokers who experience varying levels of pain are more likely to maintain their addiction to tobacco. The relationship between pain intensity and cognitive-based smoking processes within a mechanistic framework has received relatively little attention. Pain avoidance may influence the association between pain intensity and smoking, as it is a construct that is related to adverse pain and smoking processes. Thus, the current cross-sectional study examined the indirect effect of pain intensity on three clinically significant smoking processes (i.e., prior quit problems, perceived barriers for cessation, and negative affect reduction smoking expectancies) through pain avoidance among 95 treatment-seeking adult smokers. Regression analyses were conducted using bootstrapping techniques through PROCESS, a conditional modeling program that utilizes an ordinary least squares-based path analytical framework to test for both direct and indirect associations. Results indicated that pain intensity had a statistically significant indirect association with quit problems and perceived barriers for cessation, through pain avoidance. Pain intensity did not have a statistically significant indirect association with the negative affect reduction of smoking expectancies through pain avoidance. The current findings provide evidence for the role of pain avoidance as a potential transdiagnostic mechanism that contributes to maladaptive smoking outcomes within the larger context of the reciprocal model of pain and substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBehavioral Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Pain
  • pain avoidance
  • pain intensity
  • smoking
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Pain Avoidance in the Relation between Pain Intensity and Smoking Cessation Processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this