A Ph.D. student in the College of Arts and Sciences is using a grant award to help people in pain quit smoking.
Jun 17, 2015
Emily Zale, a student in the clinical psychology program in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded a Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She will use the prestigious award to adapt and test a brief intervention to increase the motivation to quit smoking among those with chronic pain. The project is co-sponsored by Joseph Ditre, assistant professor of psychology, and Stephen Maisto, professor of psychology, and is being carried out in conjunction with the Center for Integrated Healthcare at the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“There is mounting evidence that smokers in pain represent a large and
important subgroup of people who experience unique barriers to, and
greater difficulty with, quitting smoking,” says Zale, adding that pain
and tobacco smoking are considered critical national health problems.
“It is our hope that an intervention designed to address these unique
needs will increase motivation to quit among smokers who experience
Studies show that smokers generally experience greater levels of pain intensity and disability, compared to nonsmokers. Although evidence suggests that quitting smoking may ultimately improve pain outcomes, a vast majority of smokers are not ready to engage in a serious quit attempt. Zale says that existing treatments for smoking cessation, including medication and counseling, double a smoker’s chance of quitting; however, most smokers attempt to quit without the aid of available interventions. She seeks to address these problems by developing and testing a brief intervention aimed at increasing motivation to quit smoking and willingness to engage available smoking cessation treatments. Her award and research has been features four times in June including WRVO, Time Warner cable news, WSYR, and SU News.