Predictive validity of the Motivation To Stop Scale (MTSS): a simple measure of motivation to stop smoking.

Abstract presented at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Europe held in Helsinki, Finland on 31 August 2012

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Kotz, Daniel* [1,2]

Brown, Jamie [2]

West, Robert [2]

[1]Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands. [2]Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.




Many different measures of motivation to stop smoking exist but it would be desirable to have one that is standard for use in population surveys and for evaluations of interventions to promote cessation. The aim of this study was to assess the predictive validity of the single-item Motivation To Stop Scale (MTSS).



We used data from the “Smoking Toolkit Study”. A representative sample of 2,483 English smokers used the MTSS and were followed up 6 months later to provide information on quit attempts since baseline. The MTSS has 7 response categories ranging from 1 (reflecting the absence of any belief, desire or intention to stop smoking) to 7 (having a strong desire and short-term intention to stop).


A total of 692 smokers (27.9% (95%CI=26.1-29.6)) made an attempt to quit smoking between baseline and 6-month follow-up. Of the 447 smokers who scored the two highest levels of motivation at baseline, 219 made an attempt to quit (positive predictive value = 49%). The odds of quit attempts increased linearly with increasing level of motivation at baseline (p<0.001) and were 6.8 times (95%CI=4.7-9.9) higher for the highest level of motivation compared with the lowest. The accuracy of the MTSS for discriminating between smokers who did and did not attempt to quit was ROCAUC=0.67 (95%CI=0.65-0.70).


The MTSS provides strong quantitative prediction of quit attempts and is a candidate for a standard measure of motivation to stop smoking. Further research should first of all assess the external validity of this measure in different smoking populations.


The “Smoking Toolkit Study” is funded by the English Department of Health, Cancer Research UK, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson and Johnson. Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline are manufacturers of smoking cessation products who had no involvement in the design of the study, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, the writing of the report, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.


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