The Craving Experience Questionnaire: a brief, theory-based measure of consummatory desire and craving

Authors

  • Jon May,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, Cognition Institute, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
    • Correspondence to: Jon May, School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK. E-mail: jon.may@plymouth.ac.uk

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jackie Andrade,

    1. School of Psychology, Cognition Institute, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David J. Kavanagh,

    1. Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gerald F. X. Feeney,

    1. Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mathew J. Gullo,

    1. Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dixie J. Statham,

    1. School of Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jessica Skorka-Brown,

    1. School of Psychology, Cognition Institute, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jennifer M. Connolly,

    1. Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mandy Cassimatis,

    1. Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ross McD. Young,

    1. Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. Faculty of Health Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jason P. Connor

    1. Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    3. Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Background and Aims

Research into craving is hampered by lack of theoretical specification and a plethora of substance-specific measures. This study aimed to develop a generic measure of craving based on elaborated intrusion (EI) theory. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) examined whether a generic measure replicated the three-factor structure of the Alcohol Craving Experience (ACE) scale over different consummatory targets and time-frames.

Design

Twelve studies were pooled for CFA. Targets included alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate and food. Focal periods varied from the present moment to the previous week. Separate analyses were conducted for strength and frequency forms.

Setting

Nine studies included university students, with single studies drawn from an internet survey, a community sample of smokers and alcohol-dependent out-patients.

Participants

A heterogeneous sample of 1230 participants.

Measurements

Adaptations of the ACE questionnaire.

Findings

Both craving strength [comparative fit indices (CFI = 0.974; root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.039, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.035–0.044] and frequency (CFI = 0.971, RMSEA = 0.049, 95% CI = 0.044–0.055) gave an acceptable three-factor solution across desired targets that mapped onto the structure of the original ACE (intensity, imagery, intrusiveness), after removing an item, re-allocating another and taking intercorrelated error terms into account. Similar structures were obtained across time-frames and targets. Preliminary validity data on the resulting 10-item Craving Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) for cigarettes and alcohol were strong.

Conclusions

The Craving Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) is a brief, conceptually grounded and psychometrically sound measure of desires. It demonstrates a consistent factor structure across a range of consummatory targets in both laboratory and clinical contexts.

Ancillary