Development of a short ‘readiness to change’ questionnaire for use in brief, opportunistic interventions among excessive drinkers


  • The research reported here was carried out while the first author was Visiting Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, and was supported by a Research Into Drug Abuse Programme grant from the Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health as part of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse.

and reprint requests to: Professor Nick Heather. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, P.O. Box 1, Kensington, NSW 2033, Australia.


Excessive drinkers (141) identified in medical settings who were not seeking help for an alcohol problem completed a questionnaire based on Prochaska and DiClemente's stages of change model. Principal components analysis revealed a clear factor structure corresponding to the ‘precontemplation’, ‘contemplation’ and ‘action’ stages of change. On this basis, a 12-item ‘Readiness to change’ questionnaire was developed with satisfactory psychometric properties. As predicted, scale scores on adjacent stages of change showed significantly higher inter-correlations than scores on non-adjacent stages. Concurrent validation by comparison with subjects' choices of cartoons depicting each of the stages of change and with screening questions regarding aspects of drinking behaviour was moderate to very good. The questionnaire provides a short and convenient measure of readiness to change which may be used in conjunction with brief, opportunistic interventions with excessive drinkers.