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Arch Hellen Med, 32(4), July-August 2015, 492-500


Cognition, physical activity, sociodemographic characteristics and "emotional stability":
Their connection with smoking cessation

M. Ypofanti,1,2 G. Lyrakos,1,4 B. Mouchtouri,3 P. Tzanne,1 M. Panidou,5 H. Niarchakou,1 X. Sakkari,1 Y. Theodorakis,2 V. Zisi2
1"Aghios Panteleimon" General Hospital of Nikaia, Pireus,
2Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Trikala,
3"Daphni" Psychiatric Hospital, Athens,
4Second Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Pain Unit, "Attikon" University Hospital, Athens,
5Municipality of Nikaia-Agios Ioannis Renti, Nikaia, Greece

OBJECTIVE To examine the relationship of the cognition of smokers who wish to quit smoking, and seek aid from a psychologist, with their sociodemographic characteristics, and to investigate the role of physical activity as an aid for quitting and the effect of "emotional stability" as a personality trait on the success of the effort to quit.

METHOD The study used: (a) A simple questionnaire for sociodemographic characteristics, (b) the Greek version of the International Personality Item Pool (ΙΡΙΡ), (c) the manual "No more smoking, it's time for physical activity", and (d) pedometers (Yamax SW-200). Of the 60 individuals who wanted to quit smoking, only 41 completed the smoking cessation counselling program (response rate 68.3%). The data were analyzed using statistical descriptive analysis, the Kolmogorov-Smyrnov test, t-test for independent samples and the x2 test.

RESULTS Of the 41 individuals who completed the counselling program, only 19 (46.3%) succeeded in giving up smoking for at least 6 months. Physical activity was strongly associated with quitting smoking: Participants who did not increase their physical activity did not succeed in their effort to quit (x2=13.41, p<0.001). The participants who increased their physical activity had less specific knowledge of the harmful effects, mainly of passive smoking (x2=4.103–11.697, p=0.001–0.043 <0.05) than those who did not quit smoking, who, although they had specific knowledge about the harmful effects of smoking (x2=4.829–6.320, p=0.012–028) did not manage to quit. Regarding the sociodemographic characteristics, a significant association with positive cognition for smoking cessation was noted only for age (x2=4.197–7.413, p=0.006–0.040 <0.05) and gender (x2=4.557, p=0.033 <0.05). The personality trait of "emotional stability" showed low values for those who abandoned the effort to quit at an early stage (t(59)=-2.386, p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS Physical activity appears to make an important contribution to the success of a smoking cessation effort. Age and gender should be taken into account by the specialists, who should also initially record knowledge about smoking cessation, and then focus on the counseling intervention. A low score on the "emotional stability" instrument may predict the tendency of participants to abandon their efforts to quit smoking at an early stage.

Key words: Cognition, Emotional stability, Physical activity, Smoking cessation, Sociodemographic characteristics.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine