INTRODUCTION: Adults with depression smoke at higher rates than other adults leaving a large segment of this population, who already incur increased health-related risks, vulnerable to the enormous harmful consequences of smoking. Yet, the impact that depression has on smoking cessation is not clear due to the mixed results of past research. The primary aims of this review were to synthesize the research examining the relationship of depression to smoking cessation outcomes over a 20-year period, to examine the gender and racial composition of these studies, and to identify directions for future research. METHODS: Potential articles published between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2010 were identified through a MEDLINE search of the terms "clinical trial," "depression," and "smoking cessation." 68 studies used all three terms and met the inclusion criteria. RESULTS: The majority of studies examined either a past diagnosis of major depression or current depression symptoms. Within the few studies that examined the interaction of gender and depression on smoking cessation, depression had a greater impact on treatment outcomes for women than men. No study reported examining the interactive impact of race and depression on treatment outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Although attention to the relationship of depression and smoking cessation outcomes has increased over the past 20 years, little information exists to inform a treatment approach for smokers with Current Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, and Minor Depression and few studies report gender and racial differences in the relationship of depression and smoking cessation outcomes, thus suggesting major areas for targeted research.
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