Objective: Although several multi-item scales assess readiness to change alcohol consumption, some researchers have proposed that a small number of single-item rulers may assess readiness nearly as well.
Participants: In fall 2006 and spring 2007, the authors assessed 279 participants who reported at least 1 heavy drinking episode in the 2 weeks prior to the survey.
Methods: The authors compared answers from the Readiness to Change Questionnaire with rulers measuring importance and confidence regarding change.
Results: Importance correlated strongly with readiness to change, whereas confidence correlated negatively and less strongly with readiness. The validity of the importance ruler as a proxy for readiness was supported by its correlations with several measures of patterns of alcohol use, as well as its precursors and consequences.
Conclusions: Given the strong correlation between the importance ruler and the Readiness to Change score, this method may have practical utility as a brief assessment tool. Adding confidence as a second dimension slightly improved the ability to predict readiness.