Lucy Walker

Lucy is currently a third year PhD researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University, in the department of psychology. Her PhD work investigates an appearance-based intervention for smoking in women, utilising both self-report and physiological data in order to explore a tailored approach to smoking cessation. She received a vice-chancellor scholarship in 2017 to complete her PhD research. She previously received a first class BSc in psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she received an exemplary researcher award for her personal and ongoing research within the department. Her research interests include behaviour change interventions, smoking cessation and stress.

The role of stress in an age progression facial morphing smoking intervention: Preliminary results

Presentation link: The role of stress in an age progression facial morphing smoking intervention: Preliminary results

Presentation audio: Using Age-progression Facial Morphing to Encourage Smoking Cessation in Women and the Role of Physiological Stress Reactivity in Predicting its Effectiveness

Aims: Age-progression Facial Morphing (APFM) shows the aging effects of smoking on an individual’s face. The relatively novel intervention has previously increased quit-smoking intentions and elicited shock. The relationship between shock (stress) and the efficacy of APFM is unknown. The study aims to investigate the impact the stress response on the efficacy of an age-progression morphing intervention (APFM) for smoking cessation in women. Therefore, instructions have been devised to influence stress experienced during APFM, to investigate the relationship with intervention efficacy.

Method: Female smokers aged 18-55 were recruited through opportunity sampling (N=30) and randomly allocated into Neutral or Reassuring instructions. Self-report smoking information was collected pre, immediately after and one, three and six months post-intervention. Physiological stress electro-dermal activity (EDA) and heart rate (HR) was measured before (baseline) and during the intervention.

Results: As expected, exposure to the intervention i) increased physiological stress (N=30, p=<.05 vs baseline) and ii) significantly decreased cigarettes consumed and increased positive attitudes from pre-intervention to one month post-intervention (p= <.05). Analysis by instruction type revealed that smoking behaviour remained significantly reduced at three months post-intervention in the Neutral instruction group (p=.03). A positive correlation was observed between increase in HR and percentage change in amount of cigarettes consumed from pre to one month post-intervention (r(23)=.41, p=.042). Conclusions: Preliminary results reveal that physiological stress elicited during the intervention impacts long term smoking outcomes and suggests the more physiologically stressed an individual is while viewing the intervention the greater the decrease is in cigarette use. The results suggest stress could play a key role in the intervention efficacy. Future research could use randomised controlled trials to further investigate impact of the stress response and instruction types on smoking outcomes.