Adolescents who enter treatment for alcohol use disorders (AUD) must be ready to change their behavior in order for treatment to work. Unlike adults, many adolescents are sent to treatment against their will and do not desire to make the changes necessary to overcome their problems with alcohol. Measuring the motivation level of the adolescents, and determining what stage of readiness they are in, is a critical component to ensuring a positive treatment outcome. The three primary measures used to assess readiness to change in the adult population are the Stages of Change and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES), the Readiness Ruler (RR) and the staging Algorithm. The SOCRATES measures readiness to change through scaling, the RR is a ten question scale, and the algorithm bases its evaluation of readiness on a five stage scale.
Stephen A. Maisto, of the Department of Psychology at Syracuse University wanted to determine which scale would be the most effective at assessing adolescents’ readiness and measuring drinks per drinking day (DDD). For his study, Maisto administered all three measures to 161 adolescents who were undergoing treatment for AUD and found that the RR was the most effective tool. “In this regard, Readiness Ruler scores showed the most consistent pattern of evidence for both concurrent and predictive validity; the Staging Algorithm showed good concurrent validity and predictive validity for the DDD outcome at both 6 and 12 months, and Taking Steps scores showed good concurrent validity but poor predictive validity,” said Maisto. “To add to the advantages of using the Readiness Ruler, it is the briefest and easiest to complete of the three readiness measures, as it consists of one 10-point Likert-type scale that the respondent self-administers.” He added, “In general, the data show that the field would be advanced by additional systematic research on the construct validity of measures of readiness to change, given the importance of the construct in clinical practice with adolescents presenting for treatment of alcohol- and other drug-use disorders.”
Maisto, Stephen A., Marketa Krenek, Tammy Chung, Christopher S. Martin, Duncan Clark, and Jack Cornelius. “A Comparison of the Concurrent and Predictive Validity of Three Measures of Readiness to Change Alcohol Use in a Clinical Sample of Adolescents.” Psychological Assessment 23.4 (2011): 983-94. Print.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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