Introduction: Smoking individuals often have a romantic partner who also smokes. Social support from a partner is assumed to be beneficial for successful smoking cessation. To date, no study has examined daily support and smoking in dual-smoker couples jointly attempting to quit. The aim was to test the hypothesis that smokers cut down more on days with higher received and provided emotional and instrumental support. Men are expected to benefit more from support provision of their female partners than vice versa.
Methods: In this dyadic diary study, 83 dual-smoker couples reported in daily mobile phone diaries number of cigarettes smoked, how much emotional and instrumental support they received from the other partner, and how much they provided to their partners for 22 consecutive days from a joint quit date on applying the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model.
Results: Evidence was found for a support-smoking link for emotional and instrumental support. On days when women and men reported more received and provided support than usual, they smoked fewer cigarettes (actor effects for both). For men only, partner support was related to smoking: On days when women reported providing more support than usual, men smoked fewer cigarettes (partner effect for men).
Conclusions: Social support plays a key role for ones' own daily smoking in dual-smoker couples. Support provided by women but not by men was related to less smoking in partners. Findings emphasize the need for dyadic and daily assessments in longitudinal studies and trials to understand the dynamics of support in smoking cessation.
Implications: This study is the first to provide insights into the association between daily smoking and social support after a joint self-set quit attempt of dual-smoker couples using a dyadic intensive longitudinal approach. Received and provided emotional and instrumental support play a key role for ones' own daily smoking in dual-smoker couples after a joint self-set quit date. Furthermore, support provided by women was related to less smoking in partners. Because smokers with a romantic partner who also smokes have lower quit success, it is remarkable that this study replicates findings from a prior study with smoker-nonsmoker couples showing the central role of social support after a quit attempt.