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Published in: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 29, no. 3, 2015.


Introduction—Behavioral couples therapy (BCT) has been found to improve long-term abstinence rates in alcohol- and substance-dependent populations but has not been tested for smoking cessation. This pilot study examined the feasibility and acceptability of BCT for smoking-discordant couples.

Methods—Forty-nine smokers (smoking >10 cigarettes/day) with non-smoking partners were randomized to receive a couples social support (BCT-S) intervention, or an individually-delivered smoking cessation (ST) treatment. The couples were married or cohabiting for at least one year, with partners who had never smoked or had not used tobacco in one year. Both treatments included seven weekly sessions and 8-weeks of nicotine replacement therapy. Participants were followed for six months post-treatment. The Partner Interaction Questionnaire (PIQ) was used to measure perceived smoking-specific partner support.

Results—Participants were 67% male and 88% White. Biochemically-verified cessation rates were 40.9%, 50% and 45% in BCT-S, and 59.1%, 50%, and 55% in ST, at end of treatment, 3-, and 6-months, respectively, and did not differ significantly between treatment conditions at any time point (all p’s > .05). Perceived smoking-specific partner support at post-treatment did not significantly differ between treatment groups (M=2.45, SD .81 in BCT-S; M=2.27, SD .92 in ST; t(38) = .67, p = .51).

Conclusions—Results of this pilot study do not provide support for the efficacy of BCT in smoking discordant couples.