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Title: Social psychological antecedents of intention to quit smoking
Author: Wood, Caroline
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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In 2008, the United Kingdom became one of the first countries in Europe to implement graphic anti-smoking warnings. However, at present there has been very little research to reveal insights into how UK smokers may perceive the warnings and what impact they might exert on smokers' intention to quit smoking. This thesis evaluated the effectiveness of graphic anti-smoking warnings from a social psychological perspective. A qualitative study (Study 1) was conducted to tap the phenomenology of smoking, to gain insight into how smokers may experience the warnings and to establish whether smokers believed that graphic warnings would motivate them to quit smoking. The existing literature in this area has ·identified several factors which may predict intention to quit following exposure to graphic warnings. This thesis tested whether the use of fear, either on its own or in interaction with other factors, encourages smokers to form intentions to quit smoking. Four studies (with an experimental 2- factorial design) were conducted to detennine the main and interaction effects of fear and information processing, fear and hypocnsy-induced dissonance and fear and self-efficacy on intentions to quit smoking. The studies consistently revealed no significant main or interaction effects of fear on intention. The only main effect that was observed was due to hypocrisy-induced dissonance. That is, following the implementation of the hypocrisy paradigm (Aronson, Fried and Stone, 1991), findings suggested that smokers who were made to feel highly hypocritical of their smoking behaviour were motivated to fonn greater intentions to quit smoking than those smokers in the low hypocrisy condition. Having considered a diverse range of psychological factors and their potential impact on intentions to quit smoking at the intra-personal level. the latter part of the thesis examined the impact of graphic warnings at the intergroup level. Specifically, three studies were conducted to test the potential effects of the graphic warnings in the context of the intergroup relationship between smokers and non-smokers. Two studies identified that graphic warnings led to the fonnation of negative non-smoker attitudes (e.g. blame) towards smokers. Furthennore, these attitudes were greatest amongst non-smokers with a strong just-world belie{ (Lerner, 1980). A final study questioned whether awareness of negative non-smoker attitudes would motivate smokers to form intentions to quit. Findings revealed that smokers asked to read a summary of negative non-smoker attitudes towards smoking who also agreed with its content, were encouraged to form the greatest intentions to quit smoking across all of the studies conducted for this thesis. Implications of these findings, study limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available