Changing implicit attitudes toward smoking: results from a web-based approach-avoidance practice intervention

Jonathan T. Macy, Laurie Chassin, Clark Presson, Jeffrey W. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Implicit attitudes have been shown to predict smoking behaviors. Therefore, an important goal is the development of interventions to change these attitudes. This study assessed the effects of a web-based intervention on implicit attitudes toward smoking and receptivity to smoking-related information. Smokers (N = 284) were recruited to a two-session web-based study. In the first session, baseline data were collected. Session two contained the intervention, which consisted of assignment to the experimental or control version of an approach-avoidance task and assignment to an anti-smoking or control public service announcement (PSA), and post-intervention measures. Among smokers with less education and with plans to quit, implicit attitudes were more negative for those who completed the approach-avoidance task. Smokers with more education who viewed the anti-smoking PSA and completed the approach-avoidance task spent more time reading smoking-related information. An approach-avoidance task is a potentially feasible strategy for changing implicit attitudes toward smoking and increasing receptivity to smoking-related information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Approach-avoidance
  • Implicit attitudes
  • PSA
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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