Need for cognition as a predictor and a moderator of outcome in a tailored letters smoking cessation intervention

Severin Haug*, Christian Meyer, Sabina Ulbricht, Beatrice Gross, Hans Jürgen Rumpf, Ulrich John

*Corresponding author for this work
15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To analyze whether baseline need for cognition (NFC) was a predictor or a moderator of treatment outcome in a tailored letters intervention for smoking cessation. Design: A total of 1,499 daily smokers were recruited from general medical practices in Germany within a quasi-randomized trial testing the efficacies of two brief interventions for smoking cessation: (a) computer-generated tailored letters and (b) physician-delivered brief counseling versus assessment-only. For this study, we used data from 1,097 daily smokers who were assigned to the tailored letters or the assessment-only condition. Main Outcome Measures: self-reported 6-month prolonged abstinence from tobacco smoking assessed at 12-, 18-, and 24-month follow-ups, and smoking cessation self-efficacy assessed at 6- and 24-month follow-ups. Results: Baseline NFC predicted 6-month prolonged smoking abstinence (p = .01) and smoking cessation self-efficacy (p < .01). When compared to assessment only, NFC did not moderate the effect of the tailored letters intervention on smoking abstinence (p > .05) but on smoking cessation self-efficacy (p = .05). Tailored letters resulted in higher smoking cessation self-efficacy only for persons with higher NFC. Conclusion: Higher levels of NFC are required to increase smoking cessation self-efficacy in computer-tailored interventions for smoking cessation. Considering an individual's NFC might improve the efficacy of written interventions for smoking cessation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 07.2010

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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