Readiness to change among a group of heavy-drinking college students: correlates of readiness and a comparison of measures

J Am Coll Health. 2008 Nov-Dec;57(3):325-30. doi: 10.3200/JACH.57.3.325-330.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Students*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult