The Autonomy Over Smoking Scale

Psychol Addict Behav. 2009 Dec;23(4):656-65. doi: 10.1037/a0017439.


Our goal was to create an instrument that can be used to study how smokers lose autonomy over smoking and regain it after quitting. The Autonomy Over Smoking Scale was produced through a process involving item generation, focus-group evaluation, testing in adults to winnow items, field testing with adults and adolescents, and head-to-head comparisons with other measures. The final 12-item scale shows excellent reliability (alphas = .91-.97), with a one-factor solution explaining 59% of the variance in adults and 61%-74% of the variance in adolescents. Concurrent validity was supported by associations with age of smoking initiation, lifetime use, smoking frequency, daily cigarette consumption, history of failed cessation, Hooked on Nicotine Checklist scores, and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (4th ed., text rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) nicotine dependence criteria. Potentially useful features of this new instrument include (a) it assesses tobacco withdrawal, cue-induced craving, and psychological dependence on cigarettes; (b) it measures symptom intensity; and (c) it asks about current symptoms only, so it could be administered to quitting smokers to track the resolution of symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*