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Dr. Jonathan Bricker, a clinical psychologist in the Public Health Sciences Division, recently received a five-year, $3.22 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to test new smoking cessation behavioral efforts aimed at increasing quit rates.
Bricker and colleagues will test the effectiveness of an emerging counseling approach called Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Previous trials of ACT have been promising, doubling the standard quit rates at 12 months post intervention. Bricker’s study will compare ACT with standard cognitive behavioral counseling. He will also research how quit attempts, alcohol use, gender, and recent depressive and anxiety symptoms affect cessation efforts.
While effective smoking cessation treatments exist, there is significant room for improvement. With the current standard counseling plus nicotine replacement therapy, an average of 81 percent to 86 percent of smokers will relapse.
“I am very passionate about the potential of ACT to help boost quit rates,” said Bricker, part of the PHS Cancer Prevention Program.
Bricker, who is affiliated with the University of Washington’s Department of Psychology, said he is excited to partner with study co-investigator Dr. Jennifer McClure of the Group Health Research Institute.
“Testing this intervention among Group Health patients will provide a valuable real-world test of ACT for smoking cessation, and if successful, we can begin disseminating ACT to health care settings around the country,” he said.