• alcohol dependence;
  • covariance;
  • drinking;
  • locus of control;
  • readiness to change

Aims:  The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the Drinking-Related Health Locus of Control scale (DRIE) and the three aspects of readiness to change (i.e. ambivalence, recognition, and taking action), in response to the degree of dependence.

Methods:  This study was carried out based on data collected from 160 male alcohol-dependent patients, and the degree of alcohol dependence was divided into three categories: light, moderate, and severe, on the basis of the total scores of the short-form Severity Degree Alcohol Dependence Data questionnaire (SADD).

Results:  There were significant differences between the different degrees of dependence on drinking-related locus of control, feelings of ambivalence toward drinking, recognition of problematic drinking, and readiness to take action to change. Patients with more severe dependence usually had higher scores of drinking-related locus of control, indicating a tendency toward external locus of control, feelings of ambivalence, and recognition of their drinking problem; patients with light dependence usually had higher scores for taking action.

Conclusions:  Clinicians can strengthen readiness to change problematic drinking if the importance of degree of dependence and drinking-related locus of control are taken into consideration when devising interventions.