Asking Questions About Urges or Cravings for Cigarettes

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Smokers (N = 116) were administered the Questionnaire of Smoking Urges (QSU; S. T. Tiffany & D. J. Drobes, 1991) to explore the measurement of drug urges or cravings. Confirmatory factor analysis replicated the 2-factor structure, using the 6 best items on each of the QSU factors, although further analyses indicated that 1 conceptual factor may be a better fit. Three different categories of internally consistent items were identified within the QSU: urges to smoke, expectancies from smoking, and intentions to smoke. Path-modeling techniques were used to demonstrate patterns of interrelationships among these categories. Despite the widespread criticism of single-item scales, the present approach indicated that they are useful. In this sample, a 2-item or 3-item “desire” scale effectively measured urges to smoke. Complex scales can obscure the direct measurement of urges or cravings for a cigarette.

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