Ambivalence about recovery is a central feature of anorexia nervosa, and resistance to recovery in the eating disorders is common. Careful assessment of motivation and readiness may be useful in treatment planning in order to reduce the likelihood of dropout and treatment noncompliance. This paper describes the Readiness and Motivation Interview for Eating Disorders (RMI), a semi-structured assessment tool that elicits information on individuals' experience of, and attachment to their symptoms. The RMI allows for readiness and motivation for change status to be determined, and assesses the extent to which change, when occurring, is for internal versus external reasons. In contrast to more commonly used global measures of stage of change, the RMI provides detailed symptom-specific information about readiness and motivation in the eating disorders. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.