Greenaway, Rebecca, Mogg, Karin and Bradley, Brendan P.
Attentional bias for smoking-related information in pregnant women: relationships with smoking experience, smoking attitudes and perceived harm to foetus
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According to recent models of drug dependence, attentional bias for drug cues provides an index of vulnerability to drug-taking and relapse. The present study examined attentional bias for smoking-related information in pregnant women and its relationship with smoking experience and attitudes. Participants were 71 pregnant women (35 without smoking experience; 36 with experience of smoking, of whom 16 reported currently smoking). Attentional bias was assessed from the interference index of smoking-related words on a modified Stroop task. The attentional bias for smoking cues was positively associated with smoking experience, and with more favourable general attitudes to smoking (i.e. incentive-related bias). The bias was also greater in women who perceived greater harm of passive smoking to their foetus (i.e. threat-related bias), which was independent of smoking experience. Results indicate that attentional bias for smoking-related cues is independently associated with both incentive-related (reward) and threat-related (aversive) evaluations of cigarette smoking in pregnant women. This work highlights the need for longitudinal research to investigate whether the attentional bias provides a cognitive index of vulnerability for persistent smoking behaviour both during and after pregnancy.
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