Introduction: Although remarkable interindividual differences among pregnant smokers' decision/ability to quit have been documented, the psychological factors that may account for these differences have received less attention and comprised the primary aim of this review. Methods: We searched the medical and behavioral sciences literature from 1996 to November 2011 using PubMed and PsycINFO®. Fifty-one articles were identified based on titles or abstracts. These articles were reviewed in full and searched for quantitative observational studies of population-based or clinical samples, with the main topic of comparing smokers who quit spontaneously during pregnancy with those who did not, utilizing multivariable analyses. Results: The eight pertinent studies reviewed herein included four longitudinal studies and four cross-sectional analyses. Amidst significant variability among measures used, social support, depressive symptoms, and anxiety appeared unrelated to smoking cessation during pregnancy. Furthermore, when severity of nicotine dependence was controlled, maternal history of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia all showed no independent relationship with smoking cessation during pregnancy, whereas maternal history of conduct disorder did. Secure attachment, prosocial personality, self-esteem, and perceived parenting competence were additional predictors of cessation during pregnancy. Conclusions: A greater understanding of psychological factors that differentiate smokers who spontaneously quit during pregnancy from those who do not is crucial to the design of more effective prenatal smoking cessation interventions and also may elucidate causal mechanisms that underlie the well-established link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring behavioral problems. Directions for future research and public health and policy implications are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health