IJSSH 2016 Vol.6(6): 481-484 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2016.V6.695

Understanding Cognitive Dissonance in Smoking Behaviour: A Qualitative Study

Daisy Jane C. Orcullo and Teo Hui San
Abstract—Cognitive dissonance occurs when one’s belief is contradicting with the behavior, according to Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory. Hence, in smokers’ case, knowing cigarettes will cause harm on their health yet they are smoking, will induce the psychological discomfort. In this qualitative research with six (6) smokers who have at least five years of smoking experiences and have attempted to quit smoking before, it is found that cognitive dissonance could be a motivation for change. Influences from living environments and own psychological desires cause the dissonance to take place, and negative feelings such as bad, miserable, guilty and numbness were evidences for the psychological discomfort. Smokers avoid and ignore information, change their belief to align with their smoking behavior and use various defense mechanisms as dissonance reduction strategies in this phenomenon. Selfdetermination is said to be the key in changing behavior instead of belief, without self- determination, participants were more likely to change belief rather than quit smoking.

Index Terms—Cognitive dissonance, motivation, psychological discomfort.

Daisy Jane C. Orcullo is with the College of Arts and Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia (e-mail: jane@uum.edu.my).
Teo Hui San is with the Department of Group Human Capital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (e-mail: hsnteo@hotmail.com).

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Cite: Daisy Jane C. Orcullo and Teo Hui San, " Understanding Cognitive Dissonance in Smoking Behaviour: A Qualitative Study," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 6, no. 6, pp. 481-484, 2016.

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