Relationship of autonomy social support to quitting motivation in diverse smokers

Christi A. Patten, Kathy Goggin, Kari Jo Harris, Kimber P. Richter, Karen Williams, Paul A. Decker, Andrea Bradley-Ewing, Delwyn Catley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Research examining relationships between social support and smoking cessation has paid little attention to non-treatment seeking smokers and not considered the role of autonomy support for fostering quitting motivation. This study examined if autonomy support received from family and friends was associated with quitting motivation and making a quit attempt among diverse smokers with varying levels of quitting motivation. Demographic characteristics associated with autonomy support were explored. Methods: Participants (N = 312) responded to advertisements seeking smokers ‘not quite ready to quit,’ and were primarily Black, low-income and unemployed. Most (255) of them were enrolled in a clinical trial of smoking cessation induction strategies (treatment sample). An additional 57 not meeting the trial eligibility criteria of low quitting motivation were enrolled for baseline assessments only. Participants completed baseline measures of autonomy support received from friends and autonomous quitting motivation. In the treatment sample, quit attempts were assessed at six-month follow-up. Results: Females reported higher levels than males of autonomy support from friends (p = 0.003). Participants with a high school diploma/GED reported higher levels of support from family (p < 0.001) and friends (p = 0.014) than those with less education or a college/graduate degree. Both family (p = 0.007) and friends (p = 0.004) autonomy support scores were significantly, albeit weakly, associated with autonomous quitting motivation. Autonomy support was not associated with making a quit attempt. Conclusions: Support from family and friends may promote autonomous reasons to quit among diverse smokers. Research is needed to assess the role of social support in the pre-quitting phases among racial and socio-economically diverse populations. Clinical trial registration: NCT01188018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-482
Number of pages6
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Social networks
  • intervention
  • nicotine dependence
  • self-determination theory
  • smoking
  • smoking cessation


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