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Female Smokers Study: Inferential Statistics Article Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 1st, 2021

Although it is widely acknowledged that smoking is a harmful habit, many people still indulge in nicotine-based products. While almost all smokers agree that smoking has beneficial effects on mood and anxiety, female smokers resort to nicotine to control weight. The article “Differential Effects of a Body Image Exposure Session on Smoking Urge between Physically Active and Sedentary Female Smokers” deepens the behavioral mechanisms that correlate urge to smoke, body image, and physical activity among women.

The research highlights that subjects involved in vigorous physical activity show attenuated smoking urges in weight concern-eliciting. This paper explores the study from a statistical perspective, analyzing motivations and hypotheses, sampling method, data analysis, and limitations.

Uma Nair, Bradley Collins, and Melissa Napolitano search the behavioral mechanisms underlying smoking among women. While female smokers resort to smoking as a strategy for controlling weight, they face tobacco-related risks to their sexual health (Nair, Collins, & Napolitano, 2013). Weight concerns and body image dissatisfaction hinder the willingness to quit the habit. The study addresses the question of whether physical activity might replace smoking as a weight controller, assessing the “effects of physical activity versus sedentary behavior on smoking urge response” (Nair et al., 2013, p. 323). A sample population was exposed to a new behavioral task, a body-image exposure, designed to evoke body image and weight preoccupations.

The study examines the reactions of two groups of female smokers, one with attitude to physical activities, the other inclined towards a sedentary life. The main hypothesis was that, after the exposure to the behavioral task, the active smokers would show a less urge to smoke. The sample population comprised 37 women, from 18 to 24 years old, reporting weight dissatisfaction and consumption of at least five cigarettes per day. Inclusion criteria for physically active women entailed at least 60 minutes of vigorous activity or 90 minutes of moderate exercise per week, while the sedentary group included smokers performing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity or no activity at all.

The active smoker group constituted of 21 individuals, while the sedentary women were 16. Although the sizes of the samples were different, the requirement of homogeneity of variance was met (Tanner, 2016). To raise body-image motivation, the researchers created a behavioral task based on mirror-exposure procedures. This innovative therapeutic technique has proven to reduce body dissatisfaction (Servián-Franco, Moreno-Domínguez, & del Paso, 2015). From a statistical perspective, the manipulative method defines the study as quasi-experimental.

Self-reported urge to smoke and latency to the first puff are the most critical measures, obtained before and after the exposure session. The urge to smoke among the two groups was compared through paired sample t-tests, using 2×2 repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of physical activity, body and weight concerns, nicotine withdrawal, and symptoms of depression. Pre- and post-test data, partial correlations among time spent in physical activities, and measures of the other variables allowed the researchers to associate vigorous physical exercise to a lower urge to smoke (Nair et al., 2013). On the contrary, sedentary smokers showed a greater urge to smoke.

Although the article sheds light on the relation among body-image, motivation to smoke, and influence of physical exercise on the urge to smoke, it presents some limitations. The sample of 37 participants, most of which were Caucasian, is hardly representative of a larger population. Moreover, considering the use of psychological variables related to personal experiences, the sample size seems to be even more crucial. The inclusion of different ethnicity and age groups, as well as female smokers reporting physical activity between 30 and 60 minutes per week would have allowed a larger number of variables to offer a more representative sample.

The study by Nair et al. (2013) explores the behavioral mechanisms connected to the consumption of nicotine among women and tests the hypothesis that physical activity can replace or integrate smoking as a weight controller. Through quasi-experimental research and paired sample t-tests, the study shows that physical activities reduce the urge to smoke. However, the sample appears to be undersized to be representative of the population.

References

Nair, U. S., Collins, B. N., & Napolitano, M. A (2013). Differential effects of a body image exposure session on smoking urge between physically active and sedentary female smokers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(1), 322-327. Web.

Servián-Franco, F., Moreno-Domínguez, S., & del Paso, G. A. R. (2015). Body dissatisfaction and mirror exposure: Evidence for a dissociation between self-report and physiological responses in highly body-dissatisfied women. PLOS ONE, 10(4), e0122737. Web.

Tanner, D. (2016). Statistics for the behavioral and social sciences (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

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