Introduction: Although a great deal of research has focused on measuring motivation and readiness to quit smoking, little research has assessed gross motivational changes after a smoker has made an attempt to quit smoking. Unlike previous single-item global measures of motivation to remain abstinent, we developed the abstinence-related motivational engagement (ARME) scale to evaluate the degree to which abstinence motivation is reflected by an ex-smoker's daily experience in areas that include cognitive effort, priority, vigilance, and excitement. The aim of this study was to collect reliability and initial construct validity data on this new measure.
Methods: Participants were 199 ex-smokers recruited from the community and smoking cessation Web sites. Participants completed online measures including a global motivation measure, the ARME scale, demographic questionnaire, and a measure of cessation self-efficacy.
Results: The 16-item ARME questionnaire demonstrated high internal consistency reliability (alpha = .89). Analyses provided support for convergent, discriminant, and construct validity of the scale. ARME demonstrated the predicted correlation with a traditional measure of global cessation motivation, yet, also as predicted, only the ARME was negatively associated with length of abstinence. Moreover, as hypothesized, ex-smokers engaged in the quitting process via ongoing smoking Web site participation showed higher ARME scores than a comparison community sample. A five-item short form demonstrated similar psychometric properties.
Discussion: This study provided initial support for the ARME construct and offers two versions of a reliable instrument for assessing this construct. Future research will examine the ARME as a predictor of cessation outcome and a potential target for relapse prevention.