Multidimensional assessment of nicotine dependence in adolescents

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Mar 7;77(3):235-42. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2004.08.019.


Despite the critical importance of adolescent smoking, the assessment of nicotine dependence during this developmental period has been the subject of relatively little research. In this study, 301 adolescents (ages 12 through 18 years) reporting daily smoking were recruited for a project on alcohol use disorders (AUDs). The sample included 140 females and 161 males, 251 subjects from clinical and 50 from community sources, and 176 subjects with AUDs at the baseline assessment. Subjects were evaluated with the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale (NDSS), the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) and a determination of average number of cigarettes per day (cigarettes/day). A varimax factor analysis of 27 NDSS items revealed four factors: (1) Drive/Tolerance (13 items; Cronbach alpha = 0.91); (2) Continuity (five items; Cronbach alpha = 0.67); (3) Priority (three items; Cronbach alpha = 0.64); (4) Stereotypy (five items; Cronbach alpha = 0.66). The NDSS total score, refined by the removal of four items, was also examined (23 items; Cronbach alpha = 0.90). Predicting cigarettes/day at follow-up, initial smoking rate was the best predictor, with the FTND and NDSS Total score showing significant and similar predictive validity. The NDSS Total showed incremental validity in the prediction of smoking progression in a model including demographic characteristics, initial smoking rate and FTND. The findings suggest that the NDSS has acceptable psychometric properties when applied to adolescents, complementing smoking rate and FTND in a multidimensional smoking assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*