Although previous research has demonstrated that individuals with parents who smoke are more likely to become smokers and are less successful in smoking cessation efforts compared with those without a smoking parent, the reasons for this link have not been established. In the current study, implicit attentional bias to smoking-related cues was investigated in college-age smokers, based on models of addiction that suggest that attention to drug-related cues plays an important role in drug addiction. Sixty-one participants completed a dot-probe task to measure attentional bias to smoking-related and matched non-smoking-related control pictures. Results indicated that while those who reported smoking occasionally did not demonstrate an attentional bias, daily smokers who had a smoking parent showed more of an attentional bias to the smoking cues than those without a smoking parent, but only to cues that did not contain human content. In addition to parental influence, nicotine dependence explained a significant portion of the variance in the attentional bias for daily smokers. Implications for models of nicotine addiction and the development of smoking cessation programs are discussed.
Dickter, Cheryl L. and Forestell, Catherine A., Peering Through the Smoke: The Effect of Parental Smoking Behavior and Addiction on Daily Smokers’ Attentional Bias to Smoking Cues (2012). Addictive Behaviors, 37(2), 187-192.