Experimental Analysis of the Role of Expectancy in Nicotine Withdrawal

James C. Tate, Annette L. Stanton, Samuel B. Green, Joy M. Schmitz, Tao Le, Burnice Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


An attempt was made to manipulate the withdrawal symptoms experienced by 62 cigarette smokers during a 48-hr smoking abstinence period. Subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 expectancy manipulation groups (i.e., psychological complaints, somatic complaints, no complaints, and no-expectancy control), and measurements of withdrawal symptoms were made during 48 hr of ad libitum smoking and 48 hr of smoking abstinence. The expectancy manipulation consisted of administration of placebo nicotine gum and specific instructions as to the type of withdrawal symptoms to expect during smoking abstinence. Subjects instructed to expect no complaints during abstinence reported fewer somatic complaints and less mood disturbance than the no-expectancy controls. Subjects instructed to expect somatic, but not psychological, complaints reported more numerous and severe somatic withdrawal symptoms than subjects instructed not to expect such symptoms. The results suggest expectancy may play a role in nicotine withdrawal experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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