Background: Researchers in the field of smoking have sought to identify variables that predict whether or not pregnant smokers stop or continue to smoke. Most variables examined are demographic in nature and little is known about psychological variables associated with those who quit or reduce smoking while pregnant.

Purpose: To analyze attributional style and locus of control to determine which factors alone, or in combination, are associated with quitting versus reduced smoking among pregnant smokers.

Methodology: Pregnant smokers who quit (n = 66) or reduced their smoking (n = 43) were identified by the nursing staff at a women’s county out-patient clinic in Las Vegas and were interviewed by telephone between March 2002 and August 2004. Subjects completed measures of attributional styles, locus of control and smoking habits. The Beck Depression scale was administered to control for depression.

Results: Both groups had similar attributional styles, which were pessimistic (below the midpoint of zero on the scale of-18 to +18); however, quitters (mean=-1.7) were significantly less pessimistic than reduced smokers (mean=-3.4) (p< 0.001). There were no differences in locus of control between the two groups. Compared to reduced smokers, quitters were younger (median=22 vs. 26, p=0.036) and less likely to live with a smoker (57.6% vs. 72.1%, p

Implications for Preventive Care: Reduced smokers were more pessimistic, especially for internal causality for negative situations, which indicates a personality difference between groups. This suggests attribution therapy may be effective for reduced smokers to encourage them to quit completely.


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Helen Hopp Marshak

Second Advisor

Roseann Colosimo

Third Advisor

Christine Neish

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Smoking Cessation; Smoking -- psychology; Smoking -- adverse effects; Prenatal Care; Smoking -- in pregnancy; Pregnancy.



Page Count

xi: 138

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives