Three years later: Recent developments in the experimental modification of smoking behavior

William A. Hunt, Joseph D. Matarazzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Discusses the rate of relapse of smokers after successfully completing smoking treatment programs. The negatively accelerated relapse curve is virtually identical to that reported for alcoholics and heroin addicts and approaches asymptote at approximately the 25% level. Some suggestions for the intensification of treatment programs are presented based on research from 1970-1973. It is proposed that the stimulus conditions be made more relevant and generalizable. The substitution of covert stimuli for their external counterparts and the importance of images and cognitive processes are discussed. The use of multiple techniques, while promising, is difficult to evaluate due to the small number of Ss. The sharpness of the relapse curve suggests that programs in maintenance of behaviors may be of value. Smoking is considered as overlearning which requires longer treatment and booster sessions for both backsliders and successful nonsmokers. The elaboration of tangential and supportive techniques (e.g., recreational and social activities) is considered as part of a comprehensive human engineering approach to reinforce treatment. (33 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1973
Externally publishedYes


  • behavioral treatment completion, rate of relapse, smokers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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