Smoking behavior and motivation to quit among chronic pain patients initiating multidisciplinary pain treatment: A prospective study

Marina Unrod, Ronald J. Gironda, Michael E. Clark, Kristi E. White, Vani N. Simmons, Steven K. Sutton, Thomas H. Brandon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The primary aim of this study was to assess smoking characteristics and cessation motivation prior to and after initiation of multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment. A secondary aim was to identify predictors of cessation motivation among smokers initiating treatment for chronic pain. Design: We used a prospective, nonrandomized, repeated measures design. Setting: The study was conducted in a multidisciplinary specialty pain treatment program at a veterans hospital. Patients: Smokers (N=90) referred to a multidisciplinary pain program for the treatment of chronic pain. Measures: Patients completed questionnaires assessing pain-related and smoking-related factors prior to (baseline) and 8 weeks post (follow-up) specialty pain treatment initiation. Primary outcome measures were the Contemplation Ladder and the Stages of Change (SOC) algorithm. Results: At baseline, patients reported moderate levels of cessation motivation, and 69% were in the contemplation stage or higher on the SOC. Motivation to quit smoking was higher at follow-up compared with baseline on both continuous, t(89)=2.11, P<0.05, and stage-based, z=3.69, P<0.01, measures. At follow-up, participants reported greater interest in receiving cessation interventions, and 7.8% of patients had quit smoking. Pain-related predictors of motivation (e.g., pain intensity) were subsumed by more general predictors (e.g., nicotine dependence). Conclusions: Patients in this sample were more motivated to quit smoking a few weeks after, as compared with before initiating specialty pain treatment. Future research into pain-specific predictors of cessation motivation is warranted to inform the development of interventions that address pain patients' unique needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1303
Number of pages10
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Cessation motivation
  • Chronic pain
  • Smoking


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