Motivations to combine alcohol and nicotine in college students: A validation of the Alcohol and Nicotine Motives Scale

Katja A. Waldron, Kimberly A. Mallett, Robert J. Turrisi, Racheal Reavy, Erin Wolfe, Alexa Plisiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Research on combining alcohol and nicotine (ALCNIC) has shown this risky behavior results in significantly more consequences than using either alcohol or nicotine alone. No measures currently exist to assess ALCNIC motives limiting intervention and prevention efforts. The present study developed a psychometrically sound and multidimensional measure of ALCNIC motives (the ANMS). Methods: An initial item pool of ALCNIC items was developed from literature on college student drinking, focus groups, and individual interviews. Study 1 involved students from a northeastern university who completed an online survey on the ALCNIC items (N = 55; 57.1% female; Mage = 20.3). Analysis focused on reliability (exploratory factor analysis). Study 2 involved a cross-validation national sample of college students (N = 336; 49.7% female; Mage = 21.2) completing the same survey items. Confirmatory factor analysis, criterion-related validity (ALCNIC/weekend drinking), and discriminant validity (social desirability) were assessed using structural equation modeling. Results: Results across two studies revealed three factors to engage in ALCNIC: antagonistic (party longer), synergistic (enhanced effects), and social (peer pressure); and one factor to avoid ALCNIC: negative effects (feeling anxious) (all alphas > 0.7). In study 2, criterion-related validity revealed that synergistic motives were significantly positively associated with ALCNIC use; and negative effects motives were significantly negatively associated with ALCNIC use. Discriminant validity showed ALCNIC subscales were not significantly associated with social desirability (except social). Conclusions: The study developed a reliable and valid measure of motives for ALCNIC use. Results were robust to cross-validation across two samples of college students. These measures provide targets for intervention and prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106645
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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