A pilot trial of behavioural activation with a contingency management component: Preliminary examination of changes in smoking and alternative rewards among low-income individuals

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International journal of psychology


The heaviest smoking and burden of tobacco-related illness occurs among low-income individuals. Using a behavioural economics framework, this non-randomised pilot study examined the preliminary efficacy of behavioural activation (BA) with a contingency management (CM) component designed to encourage continued use of BA skills and reductions in cigarettes smoked. Eighty-four participants were recruited from a community centre. Data were collected at the start of every other group and at four different follow-up time points. Domains assessed included number of cigarettes smoked, activity level, and environmental rewards (i.e. alternative environmental reinforcers). Over time, cigarette smoking decreased (p < .001), environmental reward increased (p = .03), and reward probability and activity level were associated over time with cigarette smoking (p ≤ .03) above and beyond the effect of nicotine dependence. The continued use of BA skills was associated with greater environmental rewards (p = .04). While further research is needed to replicate this work, results suggest initial evidence for the utility of this intervention in a traditionally underserved community.

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ePub ahead of print