College of Sciences


Ph.D. Virginia Consortium Program of Clinical Psychology

Publication Date

Spring 2020




Significance: Maladaptive emotional states are important drivers of tobacco use, but the mediating factors are poorly understood, particularly for e-cigarette use. Given that e-cigarette use has increased in prevalence and popularity, research examining motivating factors to engage in use is necessary. Methods: Survey data were collected from youth (18-25) attending a four-year university (N = 216, M-age = 20.41, 36.6% African American). Respondents answered questions about emotion dysregulation (Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale; DERS), positive/negative urgency (Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, Sensation Seeking, and Positive Urgency Scale; UPPS-P), affect (Positive and Negative Affect Scale, PANAS), distress tolerance (Distress Tolerance Scale, DTS); negative affect reduction outcome expectancies (NAROE) and current use. A path analysis was used to examine the direct effects of affect, the 3 emotional competencies (emotion dysregulation, positive and negative urgency, and distress tolerance), and NAROE on current use, as well as the mediational effects of NAROE. Results: Path analyses displayed a positive direct effect of negative urgency (β = .209; p=.017) on negative affect reduction outcome expectancies and direct effects of negative affect (β = -.170; p=.032), positive urgency (β = -.180; p=.013), and negative affect reduction outcome expectancies (β = .257; p=.007) on current use. Negative affect reduction outcome expectancies mediated the relationship between negative urgency and current use (β =.052, p=.008) and positive urgency and current use (β =.037, p=.038) Conclusion: Emotion competencies, specifically the ability to control one’s impulses during highly emotional periods may play a role in e-cigarette initiation and maintenance. Emotional competencies may be helpful in implementing preventative and cessation programs.


Maladaptive emotional states, E-cigarette usage, Motivation factors, Emotional competencies, Impulses


Applied Behavior Analysis | Clinical Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts



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Impact of Emotional Competencies on Current E-Cigarette Use Within a Young Adult Sample