A psychometric evaluation of cigarette stimuli used in a cue reactivity study

Nicotine Tob Res. 2006 Jun;8(3):361-9. doi: 10.1080/14622200600670215.


Laboratory studies have demonstrated that cigarette smokers react with significant subjective and autonomic responses (e.g., increased craving and increased heart rate) in the presence of stimuli associated with smoking. Although cue reactivity effects are typically robust, a number of methodological considerations make interpretation and design of cue reactivity studies problematic. Previous research has paid scant attention to the psychometric properties of the cigarette cues presented, and standard cues would enhance comparison and synthesis of studies. In the present study, we evaluated 12 cigarette photos (compared with positive, negative, and neutral photos), used in a separate study, for their ability to evoke self-report of craving in both nicotine-deprived and nondeprived smokers. These photos performed as expected, with cigarette pictures evoking significantly higher craving than neutral pictures and deprived smokers showing a trend toward higher craving than nondeprived smokers. The cigarette picture set was evaluated for internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = .97) as a 12-item scale and further reduced to multiple 2-item scales with reliability estimates ranging from .70 to .93. A cluster analysis of all pictures showed that, when rated for craving, cigarette pictures clustered together, indicating they had distinct properties compared with positive, negative, and neutral pictures. Effect sizes were calculated for each cigarette picture in both deprived and nondeprived smokers. The craving effect sizes ranged from .57 to .98 for nondeprived smokers, and from .61 to .99 for deprived smokers. The analyses suggest these cigarette pictures have excellent psychometric properties for use in future cue reactivity studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arousal
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Psychometrics
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires