Current Research

Persistence Targeted Smoking Cessation in Schizophrenia (NIDA R21/R33)
PI: Marc L. Steinberg, Ph.D. Co-Investigators: Jill M. Williams, MD, Shou-En Lu, Ph.D.

  • The R21 portion of this study will included modifying an existing psychosocial treatment for smokers with schizophrenia and conducting an open pilot (N=26) testing the ability of this new intervention (“Persistence Targeted Smoking Cessation in Schizophrenia (PTSC-S)”) to increase task persistence in smokers with schizophrenia.
  • The R33 portion of this study, modified from the original due to COVID-19, is an acceptability and feasibility study of the PTSC-S intervention delievered via telehealth to smokers with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder.

The current flyer for this study can be downloaded HERE.

Addressing tobacco among those at socioeconomic disadvantage
Co-PIs: Marc L. Steinberg, Ph.D. & Teresa Leyro, Ph.D.

The purpose of the current investigation is to examine strategies for encouraging socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers in New Brunswick, New Jersey to quit in a randomized clinical trial. This project is in partnership with the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) and Elijah’s Promise.

In order to examine strategies for encouraging smoking cessation in socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers, we will randomize self-identified smokers interested in our study to one of three intervention conditions:

  1. Brief motivational interviewing (MI) and referral to the NJ Quitline.
  2. Provision of a two-week supply of nicotine replacement patch and nicotine lozenge (NRT sampling) and referral to the NJ Quitline.
  3. Referral only. This randomized controlled trial will allow for a direct comparison of three brief and easy to implement treatment conditions in relation to various cigarette smoking outcomes.

Change Talk in Smokers with Serious Mental Illness
Master’s Thesis by Benjamin Billingsley under the direction of Marc L. Steinberg, Ph.D.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an empirically supported, client-centered counseling style used to promote behavior change. MI leads to reductions in substance use and alcohol use and improves various health behaviors. In particular, MI leads to better smoking cessation treatment outcomes. Change talk (CT) is the primary mechanism of action through which MI is thought to work. Higher levels of in-session change talk have been found to predict improved treatment outcomes.

However, the impact of change talk on individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) has not been assessed. Although Adaptations of Motivational Interviewing (AMIs) have been found to increase the number of quit attempts made by individuals with SMI, it is unclear whether CT exerts the same impact in this population. In the current study our goal is to assess the impact of CT in AMI sessions conducted with individuals with SMI. We will test the following hypotheses:

  1. Individuals with more frequent change talk will be more likely to have made a quit attempt.
  2. Smokers with more sustain talk will be less likely to have made a quit attempt.
  3. The percentage of change talk later in the session will be the best predictor of whether the individual made a quit attempt.
  4. There will be more change talk in the intervention than the control condition.
  5. A better therapeutic alliance will be correlated with a greater quantity of change talk.