Demonstration of an Integrated Treatment for Smoking Cessation and Anxiety Symptoms in People With HIV: A Clinical Case Study

Allison K. Labbe, Julianne G. Wilner, Jesse D. Kosiba, Adam Gonzalez, Jasper A. Smits, Michael J. Zvolensky, Peter J. Norton, Conall O'Cleirigh

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Despite high rates of co-occurring tobacco use and anxiety symptoms and disorders among persons with HIV, evidence-based interventions for these individuals are not yet available. The present study sought to evaluate an integrated treatment model addressing smoking cessation and anxiety sypmtoms among HIV-positive smokers. Treatment was an 8-week intervention integrating a standard smoking cessation protocol (i.e., cognitive-behavioral therapy [CBT], nicotine replacement therapy) with CBT for anxiety. Inclusion criteria were 18-65. years of age, ≥. 10 cigarettes/day, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI-T] score of >. 39, and moderate motivation (i.e., ≥. 5 out of 10 on a 10-point Likert scale) to quit smoking. Primary outcomes included scores on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) and cigarettes smoked per day. Self-reported abstinence was biochemically verified by carbon monoxide breath analysis. Three male participants (mean age 49.3, . SD = 9.1) completed through 2-month follow-up. At baseline all participants reported smoking an average of 20 cigarettes per day. Two participants quit smoking and maintained abstinence by the 2-month follow-up, and demonstrated a reduction in ASI scores. Participant 3 continued to smoke but at a reduced rate. Participants' response to cognitive and behavioral strategies (e.g., creating balanced thoughts, interoceptive exposures) will be discussed. Clinical lessons learned include use of a flexible approach to cognitive restructuring, use of imaginal and in vivo exposures in session to better prepare patients for homework practice, and flexibility in delivering the treatment in an individual or group format. This clinical presentation provides preliminary support for the feasibility and initial effectiveness of an integrated treatment to reduce anxiety symptoms and aid in smoking cessation in anxious, HIV-positive smokers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • HIV
  • Smoking cessation

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