The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4039.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 9:00 AM

Abstract #47785

RTCQ versus single item measures of drug use stage-of-change

Michele M. Wood, MS, Jennifer A. Klahn, MA, Grace L. Reynolds, DPA(c), and Dennis G. Fisher, PhD. Center for Behavioral Research & Services, California State University, Long Beach, 1090 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90813, (562) 495-2330, ext. 111,

INTRODUCTION: The CA State Office of AIDS recently implemented single-item stage-of-change measurement in statewide HIV counseling and testing programs. Compared to multi-item scales, this approach reduces respondent burden and the likelihood of case deletion due to missing values. The present study compares the 12-item Readiness to Change Questionnaire (RTCQ) versus three single-item approaches to determining stage-of-change for five drug use behaviors: getting into drug treatment, using drugs less often, quitting crack, quitting injection drugs, and quitting speed. METHODS: The RTCQ was used to classify 122 crack, amphetamine, and/or injection drug users (76% Male; 60% Black, 23% White, 12% Hispanic, 5% Other; M age=45.68 years, SD=9.05) into three stages-of-change for drug use: precontemplation, contemplation, action. Single self-staging items were used to classify respondents into the same stages for each of five drug use behaviors. RESULTS: The RTCQ drug use stage-of-change was weakly correlated with the single items for getting into drug treatment (Spearmanís rho=.23, p=.01, n=122) and for using drugs less often (rho=.18, p=.05, n=122). It also was correlated with the single-staging items for quitting injection drugs among injectors (rho=.44, p=.008; n=35) and for quitting crack among crack users (rho=.38, p=.0001, n=94). It was moderately associated with the single item for quitting speed use among speed users (rho=.33, p=.09, n=26). DISCUSSION: Findings highlight the complexity of the stage-of-change concept and underline the importance of testing single items for determining stage-of-change against scales with known psychometric properties to confirm construct validity.

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  • Learning Objectives