Anxiety in social interactions is an important factor in cigarette use and nicotine dependence. Metacognitions about smoking have been found to predict smoking behavior and may help understand the relationship between anxiety in social interactions and nicotine dependence. In the current study, we evaluated the direct effect of anxiety in social interactions on nicotine dependence and its indirect effect through metacognitions (controlling for anhedonia and depression) in nicotine-dependent men (n = 388). Participants completed measures of anxiety in social interactions [the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS)], anhedonia [the Snaith HamiltonPleasure Scale (SHAPS)], metacognitions about smoking [e.g., theMetacognitions aboutSmoking Questionnaire (MSQ)] nicotine dependence [the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND)], and clinical factors related to smoking including depressive symptoms [e.g., the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II)]. As expected, after controlling for depressive symptoms and anhedonia, anxiety in social interactions indirectly affected nicotine dependence through negative metacognitions about smoking, but not positive metacognitions. These findings are discussed in relation to the metacognitive model of addictive behaviors.
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