Accentuating the Positive More Effective In Inspiring Smokers to Quit..

December 10, 2007 - The study, published in the December 2007 issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, examined the use of prospect theory in getting people to quit smoking. Prospect theory maintains that gain-framed messages (“You will live longer if you quit smoking”) should be more effective than loss-framed messages (“You will die sooner if you do not quit smoking”) when attempting to encourage smokers to quit. The research team randomly assigned 258 smokers in a clinical trial in which they received video and printed messages that emphasized either the benefits of quitting smoking or the costs of continuing to smoke. All of the participants also received the antidepressant bupropion for seven weeks. Among the 170 smokers who completed treatment, those who received the more positive, or gain-framed, message were significantly more likely to maintain abstinence than those who received the more negative, or loss-framed, messages.