Loneliness and smoking: The costs of the desire to reconnect

C. Nathan DeWall, Richard S. Pond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


People have a fundamental need to belong, which influences self and identity regulation processes and health outcomes. Deficits in belongingness motivate people to seek out sources of renewed affiliation. What consequences might this desire for reconnection have for smoking? The current work proposes a theoretical model in which feelings of social exclusion predict higher rates of smoking, presumably out of desire to regain a sense of social belonging. To provide an initial test of this theoretical model, we show that loneliness consistently predicted higher smoking in nationally representative samples of adults (Studies 1 and 1) and late adolescents (Study 3). The effect of loneliness on smoking was strongest among people living in environments in which smoking was socially acceptable. Discussion centers on the fruitfulness of bridging perspectives on self and identity regulation processes to understand the causes of negative health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-385
Number of pages11
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Affiliation
  • Health
  • Loneliness
  • Smoking
  • Social exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Loneliness and smoking: The costs of the desire to reconnect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this