Thursday, December 2, 2010

Telephone-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Adult Smoking Cessation: A Feasibility Study

In an efforts to make psychotherapy more accessible to people, researchers have been experimenting with ways of offering treatment to people who cannot come in to see a therapist regularly, perhaps for financial reasons or geographic (e.g., rural areas).

Dr. Bricker and colleagues at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center did a pilot study on using a smoking cessation Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention delivered over the telephone.

Of the 74 people screened, 14 participated in the study. Although small, the sample was pretty diverse: 57% were African American and 64% were low-income. Participants had to be a daily smoker for the past 30 days, and 64% reported smoking half a pack a day.

A licensed psychologist delivered up to 5 telephone sessions: the first was about 30 minutes, and the remaining averaged 15 minutes per call. The components of intervention involved learning skills to: 1.) increase willingness to experience smoking-related urges; 2.) alter the function of these urges; 3.) change how they respond to the urges (e.g., notice without acting on them).

The study had 20-day and 12-month follow-ups. At 12-months, 29% of the participants were no longer smoking. Although this may not seem like a great outcome, it's pretty impressive when compared to other smoking intervention outcomes. According the authors, success rates are 4% for those quitting on their own, 12% for other telephone interventions, and 30-35% for face-to-face ACT interventions. What this means is that the success rate for this intervention was more than twice that of other telephone interventions and comparable to face-to-face interventions.

Because this was a small sample with no comparison control group, further research is necessary. Nonetheless, this study offers some really promising evidence that a brief ACT-based telephone intervention for smoking cessation may be pretty effective. That it's brief and delivered by phone means that it may offer more bang for the buck compared to face-to-face interventions. Additionally, participants rated the intervention really positively.

For the full citation:

Bricker, J.B., Mann, S.L., Marek, P.M., Liu, J., & Peterson, A.V. (2010). Telephone-Delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Adult Smoking Cessation: A Feasibility Study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 12(4), 454-458.

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