Tobacco Motives Inventory

Wills et al.

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Brief Description:

This is a 15-item pencil and paper self-report measure that assesses motives for cigarette smoking. Response choices are on a 5-point Likert scale ("not at all true" to "very true"). Adolescents are asked to rate each potential motive for smoking with respect to how true they think it is. There are four subscales for the 15-item measure. These include Social Motives (4 items), Self-enhancement Motives (4 items), Boredom Relief Motives (2 items), and Affect Regulation Motives (5 items).

The Tobacco Motives Inventory can be combined with an Alcohol Motives Inventory to yield a 30-item Tobacco and Alcohol Motives Inventory (a shorter 18-item version is also available). Items for alcohol use motives are identical except for replacing the word "drinking" for "smoking" on each item. Psychometric data are available on the combined 30-item Tobacco and Alcohol Motives Inventory.

Target Population: Adolescents, 10th grade and up, who have ever smoked a cigarette.
Administrative Issues: Can be administered to adolescents in a classroom setting.
Scoring Information:

Social Motives (items 1-4)
Self-enhancement Motives (items 5-8)
Boredom Relief Motives (items 9-10)
Affect Regulation Motives (items 11-15)

Subscale scores are obtained by summing response points on each subscale item. Response points are as follows: (1) Not At All True, (2) A Little True, (3) Somewhat True, (4) Pretty True, (5) Very True. For example, five data points on affect regulation are summed to produce the scale score for this construct.

To score the 30-item Tobacco and Alcohol Motives Inventory, response points for the two parallel items on smoking and alcohol are added first (e.g., Smoking helps you forget about worries, Drinking helps you forget about worries); then these data points are summed within a subscale.


Factor analysis identified two factors; factor one contained all social motive items while the second factor included all other items. The second factor, titled coping motives, includes self-enhancement, boredom relief, and affect regulation motive items.

Internal Consistency, smoking items only:

  • Social motives (9-item version): Cronbach's alpha: 0.41
    Coping motives (9-item version): Cronbach's alpha: 0.89

Internal Consistency, 30-item Tobacco and Alcohol Motives Inventory:

  • Social motives: Cronbach's alpha: 0.88
    Coping motives: Cronbach's alpha: 0.94
    Self-enhancement: Cronbach's alpha: 0.88
    Boredom relief: Cronbach's alpha: 0.92
    Affect regulation: 0.93 to 0.95.

Subscale inter-correlations for the 30-item instrument range from 0.63 (self-enhancement - boredom relief) to 0.80 (social motives - self-enhancement).

Validity Data (Tobacco and Alcohol Motives Inventory):
Coping motives (smoking and alcohol) significantly associated with substance use level (r =0.59, 0.60).
Smokers scored higher on coping motives related to smoking and scored lower on coping motives related to drinking alcohol.

Clinical Utility of Instrument: To obtain information on the factors that adolescents believe motivate their smoking; these factors may be integrated into a tailored smoking cessation program.
Research Applicability: This measure can be used to investigate the role of smoking motivational factors among substance abusing adolescents in smoking cessation and substance abuse treatment research.

The three subscales that comprise coping motives may be used as multiple indicators of the coping motives construct, for example in structural equation modeling analyses.
Copyright, Cost, and Source Issues: This measure is freely available in the public domain.
Source Reference: Wills, T. A., Sandy, J. M., & Shinar, O. (1999). Cloninger's constructs related to substance use level and problems in late adolescence: A mediational model based on self-control and coping motives. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 7, 122-134.

Wills, T. A., Sandy, J. M., & Yaeger, A. (2002). Moderators of the relation between substance use level and problems: Test of a self-regulation model in middle adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 3-21.
Supporting References: References on the 9-item measures:
Wills, T. A., & Cleary, S. D. (1995). Stress-coping model for alcohol-tobacco interactions in adolescence. In J. B. Fertig & J. P. Allen (Eds.), Alcohol and tobacco: From basic science to clinical practice (pp. 107-128). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Wills, T. A., Sandy, J. M., Shinar, O., & Yaeger, A. (1999b). Contributions of positive and negative affect to adolescent substance use: Test of a bidimensional model in a longitudinal study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 13, 327-338.
Author: Thomas A. Wills, Ph.D.
Contact Information: Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, New York 10461
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Last Updated
September 24, 2020