Mechanisms of change in a go/no-go training game for young adult smokers

Hanneke Scholten*, Maartje Luijten, Anouk Poppelaars, Mina Johnson-Glenberg, Isabela Granic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
288 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Smoking is a major cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality. Evidence-based intervention programs to help young adults quit smoking are largely lacking; identifying targets for intervention is therefore critical. A candidate target is inhibitory control, with previous studies on Go/No-Go trainings showing behavior change in the food and alcohol domain. The current study examined the mechanisms of change of HitnRun, a Go/No-Go game, in a smoking population that was motivated to quit.

Method: A 2-armed experimental study (n = 106) was conducted and young adults (Mage = 22.15; SDage = 2.59) were randomly assigned to either play HitnRun or to read a psychoeducational brochure. Prior to and directly following the intervention period, smoking-specific and general inhibitory control, perceived attractiveness of smoking pictures, and weekly smoking behavior were assessed.

Results: Results indicated that Go/No-Go training seems to decrease evaluations of smoking stimuli rather than top-down smoking-specific and general control processes. Similar reductions for weekly smoking were found in both groups.

Conclusions: Go/No-Go training did not differentially influence smoking-specific inhibitory control, general inhibitory control and weekly smoking behavior. Go/No-Go training might be able to decrease evaluations of smoking stimuli, yet based on the current study we cannot rule out the possibility of regression to the mean. More research and iterative design is needed to better understand the potential role of Go/No-Go training in smoking cessation interventions, as well as exploring other evidence-based mechanisms (e.g., peer processes, self-efficacy) that might be an important addition to smoking cessation interventions for young people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1008
JournalHealth Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Go/No-Go training
  • Smoking cessation
  • Games
  • Mechanisms of change
  • Trans-diagnostic process


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