Purpose: To examine the test retest reliability, internal consistency, and convergent construct validity of selected measures of nicotine dependence (ND) among adolescents.
Methods: Self-reports of sociodemographic characteristics and smoking behavior were collected in a convenience sample of 238 high school students aged 13 to 19 years. ND was measured in the Hooked on Nicotine Checklist (HONC), the Stanford Dependence Index (SDI) and in 45 new items identified in consultation with experts and focus group interviews with adolescent smokers.
Results: Test retest reliability among past 3-month smokers indicated good to excellent reliability coefficients for HONC items (kappa 0.61 to 0.93), except one item that tapped feelings of depression on withdrawal (kappa = 0.34). Intraclass correlation coefficients for SDI items ranged from 0.71 to 0.77. Test retest reliability coefficients for the 45 new items ranged from 0.20 to 0.90. The HONC and SDI demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.90 and 0.78, respectively). Convergent construct validity against cigarette exposure was demonstrated for the HONC, SDI, and most of the 45 new items.
Conclusions: The HONC and SDI demonstrated excellent and good psychometric properties, respectively. Most of the 45 new items hold promise as indicators of ND in youth, and should be further investigated.