Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Self-affirmation theory and cigarette smoking warning images



The present study examined self-affirmation theory, cigarette smoking, and health-related images depicting adverse effects of smoking. Previous research examining self-affirmation and negative health-related images has shown that individuals who engage in a self-affirmation activity are more receptive to messages when compared to those who do not affirm. We were interested in examining the extent to which self-affirmation would reduce defensive responding to negative health images related to cigarette smoking.


Participants included 203 daily smokers who were undergraduate students at a large southern university. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires and were then randomly assigned to one of four conditions (non-smoking image control, smoking image control, low affirmation, and high affirmation). Analyses evaluated the effectiveness of affirmation condition as it related to defensive responding.


Results indicated that both affirmation conditions were effective in reducing defensive responding for those at greatest risk (heavier smokers) and those more resistant to health benefits associated with quitting.


Findings are discussed in terms of potential public health implications as well as the role defensive responding plays in the evaluation and processing of negative health messages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>