Predictors of breath-holding duration among treatment-seeking tobacco users

Julianna Hogan, Samantha Farris, Charles P. Brandt, Norman B. Schmidt, Michael J. Zvolensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Breath-holding duration is a commonly used measure of behavioral distress intolerance and an important predictor of smoking cessation abstinence during quit attempts. Yet, the there is little empirical knowledge about the factors that may underlie breath-holding duration itself. The current study examined a variety of bio-behavioral factors in the prediction of breath-holding duration among smokers. Participants were 120 daily smokers (Mage=29.1; 47% Female) who were seeking treatment for smoking cessation. Results indicated that perceived discomfort intolerance (β=-0.20, p<0.05; measured by the Discomfort Intolerance Scale) and frustration tolerance (measured by mirror-tracing task persistence; β=-0.25, p<0.01) were significantly associated with breath-holding duration, such that smokers reporting lower perceived discomfort intolerance and shorter task-persistence demonstrated a significantly lower capacity to maintain breath-holding. Importantly, the observed significant effects were evident above the variance accounted for by cigarette use, number of past quit attempts, physical health problems, gender, anxiety sensitivity (fear of internal aversive sensations), and psychopathology. The present results suggest that breath-holding duration is related to other distress intolerance processes rather than a relatively wide array of other psychological, medical, and sociodemographic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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