The relationship between alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking : an examination of the role played by social context, social interaction and individual differences
Existing research into the relationship between alcohol consumption and smoking is
confounded by many methodological limitations. Experimental research has often
been conducted with all male samples, suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse, and
is often conducted in the laboratory or on medical research wards. It frequently fails
to account for confounding factors such as the presence of other people who may also
be drinking and smoking.
This research aims to overcome some of these limitations, and to extend
understanding of the drinking-smoking relationship by examining the influence of
social context and social interaction. Moderating effects of personality, alcohol
expectancies, and smoking motivations on these relationships are also explored.
Effects of alcohol consumption, social interaction and social context on mood are
examined and relationships between personality, alcohol expectancies and smoking
motivations are explored.
The thesis is comprised of five studies, the first of which describes the development of
a modified measure of sensation seeking. This was followed by an experiment that
examined the effects of social context and social interaction on the alcohol-smoking
relationship. The two subsequent experiments examined effects of social context and
Social interaction separately. The final questionnaire study focussed on relationships
between self-reported drinking and smoking, and relationships with personality,
alcohol expectancies and smoking motivations.
Support was found for the alcohol-smoking relationship, providing evidence for the
following theories: conditioning, where alcohol may act as a conditioned stimulus
and initiate smoking; cue exposure where smoking related cues such as alcohol, social
context or the presence of others may initiate smoking; and pharmacological where
the pharmacological effects of alcohol and nicotine may interact. Social context also
had an effect on the subjective experience of alcohol consumption, providing support
for a drug compensatory response as greater feelings of intoxication were experienced
in the laboratory than the bar. Evidence for an interaction effect between social
Context and alcohol consumption on mood was observed where more positive mood
Was observed in the bar when alcohol had been consumed. Social interaction exerted an effect on smoking where evidence for modelling was observed. The smoking
motivation restful and relaxing situations and the personality trait intensity also
appeared to moderate the relationship between social context and smoking.
The final questionnaire study confirmed that smokers consumed more alcohol than
non-smokers, and displayed higher levels of extraversion, psychoticism, novelty and
intensity. Extraversion, psychoticism, novelty and intensity were positively related to
alcohol consumption, and social desirability was negatively related to consumption.
This study also identified the smoking motivations and alcohol expectancies most
strongly related to smoking and drinking respectively. Evidence for under-reporting
alcohol consumption was established in the final study, and highlights improvements
to be gained through using a seven day diary recall method for recording self-reported
weekly alcohol consumption.
Further research could explore the effects of stronger doses of alcohol on smoking
across more diverse contexts and social situations. Further research could also focus
on the effects of more specific cues on smoking, and explore modelling effects on
smoking following alcohol consumption in greater depth.