Introduction: Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) exhibit high rates of tobacco use and lower responsiveness to tobacco cessation treatments. Treatment adherence is a strong predictor of treatment outcomes in the general population but has not been evaluated in this under-served community of smokers with MDD. Methods: We used data from a randomized clinical trial on smoking cessation treatment among 300 smokers with MDD to examine the rate of adherence (medication and counseling), the association of adherence with cessation outcomes, and factors associated with adherence, including demographic and smoking characteristics, psychiatric characteristics, smoking cessation processes (e.g., withdrawal, reinforcers), and treatment-related side effects (e.g., nausea). Results: Overall, 43.7% of participants were adherent with medication and 63.0% were adherent with counseling. Medication adherence was significantly associated with cessation, with 32.1% of adherent vs. 13.0% of non-adherent participants quitting smoking at EOT. Counseling adherence was also significantly associated with cessation, with 32.3% of adherent vs. 2.7% of non-adherent participants quitting smoking. Multivariate regression models showed that medication adherence was associated with higher engagement in complementary reinforcers and higher baseline smoking reward, while counseling adherence was associated with identifying as female, lower alcohol use and nicotine dependence, higher baseline smoking reward, and higher engagement in substitute and complementary reinforcers within the first weeks of medication use. Conclusions: As with the general population of smokers, non-adherence to treatment in smokers experiencing depression is widespread and a significant barrier to cessation. Interventions that target reinforcers may improve rates of treatment adherence.
- Major depressive disorder