Smoking and drinking behavior in patients with head and neck cancer: Effects of behavioral self-blame and perceived control

Alan J. Christensen, Patricia J. Moran, Shawna L. Ehlers, Katherine Raichle, Lucy Karnell, Gerry Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients who continue to use tobacco or alcohol following treatment for head and neck cancers are at greater risk for cancer recurrence and mortality. The present study examined the effects of behavioral self-blame and perceived control over health on smoking and alcohol use in a sample of 55 patients with cancers of the head and neck. Measures of self-blame, perceived control, and depression were administered and an assessment of past and current smoking and drinking behavior was obtained. As anticipated, continued smoking after completion of oncologic treatment was predicted by the interaction of behavior specific self-blame and perceived control. Patients who attributed the cause of their cancer to their past substance use exhibited a lower likelihood of smoking only if they also held the expectancy that their future cancer-related health was contingent on their own behavior. Among patients not holding the belief that cancer recurrence was contingent on their own actions, self-blame was associated with a higher probability of continued smoking. Self-blame and perceived control had no effect on continued alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-418
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 30 1999

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Perceived control
  • Self-blame
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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