Women smokers who overestimate their body size may be more likely to continue smoking, said researchers at The Miriam Hospital in Providence. Results of a study led by Teresa K. King, PhD, of the hospitals Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, were presented at a recent meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Participants in the study were 141 women smokers who had been recruited as part of a smoking cessation trial at the hospital. The women completed an evaluation to ascertain their perceptions of their body size and whether they were satisfied with those perceptions.
At the end of the treatment, only 4 (18.2%) of the 22 women who overestimated their body size relative to their peers had managed to stay off cigarettes, compared with 12 (50%) of the 24 women who underestimated their body size, and 28 (29.5%) of the 95 women who neither overestimated nor underestimated their body size.
The results suggest that body image may play an important role in the smoking behavior of women. Women who overestimate their body size and/or evaluate their body negatively may be more likely to continue smoking--perhaps to prevent weight gain.