Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Deborah Gardner

Second Advisor

Dr Shelley Beatty

Abstract

Smoking tobacco is the largest single risk factor for premature death in developed countries. It is also associated with the greatest economic cost of all drugs in Australian society. In addition to the health and economic consequences associated with smoking, it has also been associated with mental health problems. Smoking has been associated with anxiety, depression and stress, as well as more pervasive disorders such as panic disorder and agoraphobia. It is not clear whether smoking contributes to mental health problems or individuals with mental health problems smoke to alleviate symptoms. It may be there are genetic factors that contribute to both. The various forms of smoking cessation interventions include nicotine replacement therapies (NR T), brief interventions, telephone counselling, self-help materials, banning smoking in certain areas, and individual counselling or group therapy. Research suggests that combinations of NRT for extended periods of time is the most effective smoking cessation intervention. Rates of smoking remain high amongst people with alcohol and other drug use disorders. Mortality rates from smoking are much higher for these individuals compared to the general community. Despite smoking cessation not being encouraged for those in treatment for alcohol and other drug use, research suggests that treating smoking for these individuals does not put at risk other drug treatment and may actually improve treatment outcomes. The "stages of change" model theorises that smokers are in one of five stages of readiness to change their smoking behaviour at any one time. There are also ten different processes that people use to progress through the stages. A large body of research supports the "stages of change" model. There appears to be little research on smoking and stages of change amongst alcohol and other drug treatment populations. The high mortality rate resulting from smoking for this population warrants further research. Smoking is the largest single risk factor for premature death in developed countries. The research suggests that there are also relationships between smoking and symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. The rates of smoking are much higher amongst individuals with substance use disorders than that of the general community yet smoking cessation is rarely offered in drug treatment programs. The present study aimed to test the relationship between nicotine dependence and symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress in a Therapeutic Community (TC) for alcohol and other drug rehabilitation. Participants were 30 people who were residents of a TC for alcohol and other drug rehabilitation. A correlational research design was utilised to test the relationships between the variables. A oneway ANOVA was also utilised to determine whether entering the TC for dependence on alcohol alone or alcohol and/or other drugs had an influence on participants symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. A descriptive design was used to analyse self-report survey data. Three questionnaires were used to gather the data. A significant moderate positive correlation was found between nicotine dependence and stress. No significant main effects were found from the ANOVA. The results from the study support past research that suggests that smoking is associated with stress. Support was also provided for the "stages of change" model. If introduced into the TC, smoking interventions could initially involve education aimed at moving clients through the stages of change before offering smoking cessation.

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