Conflicts about smoking and its consequences for smokers with a non-smoking partner


  • A. Buitenhuis
  • M. Hagedoorn
  • M. Tuinman


Background: In single-smoking couples, non-smokers are likely to try to influence smoking behaviour of their partners. This could cause conflicts that can be either negative (i.e., demand/withdraw or, criticize/defend) or positive (i.e., mutual discussion, mutual expression or mutual negotiation). This longitudinal study aimed to find whether conflicts are related to smoking behavior and relationship satisfaction. Method/Findings: An online survey was conducted among 321 Dutch smokers with a non-smoking partner, 175 (55%) smokers participated 3 months later. Concurrently, smokers who reported more negative conflicts with their partner were more inclined to hide their smoking (Exp B=2.25) and were less satisfied with their relationship (b=-0.45, p<.001), while they did not indicate a lower number of cigarettes smoked or a higher intention to quit. Positive conflict patterns were associated with higher relationship satisfaction (b=0.31, p<.001). A higher frequency of conflicts was related to a higher intention to quit (b=0.18, p<.001). After three months the smoking behaviour could only be explained by the smoking behaviour at baseline. The more conflicts at baseline the stronger the relationship between conflict patterns and relationship satisfaction at T2. Discussion: Negative conflict patterns might be detrimental to the relationship satisfaction of the smoker and even stimulate hiding of smoking, while positive conflict patterns are associated with a higher relationship satisfaction. The effects of conflict pattern on relationship satisfaction over time are even more pronounced when more conflicts are reported.





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