The effects of smoking and cigarette nicotine content on smokers' preparation and performance of a psychosocially stressful task

John P. Hatch, Samuel M. Bierner, Johnnie G. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of tobacco smoking and cigarette nicotine content on four dimensions of emotional behavior (peripheral autonomic, electrocortical, cognitive, and overt motor) during both the preparation for and the performance of a psychosocially stressful task (extemporaneous speaking). Three groups of experienced smokers either did not smoke, smoked a low-nicotine cigarette, or smoked a high-nicotine cigarette while they were preparing to perform the speaking task. All subjects reported prior to the experiment that they did experience smoking as relaxing and that they did experience a stronger desire to smoke under a variety of negative affective states compared to a variety of positive affective states. In spite of these verbal reports, however, neither the smoking ritual nor the nicotine content of the cigarette smoked had a significant effect on any of the four dimensions of the emotional behavior studied during either the preparation for or the performance of the task. These results were discussed in terms of previous psychophysiological studies utilizing different types of stressors and behavioral indices of emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1983



  • cigarette smoking
  • nicotine
  • stress
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this