The Craving Experience Questionnaire: A Brief, Theory-Based Measure of Consummatory Desire and Craving
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Aims: Research into craving is hampered by lack of theoretical specification and a plethora of substance-specific measures. This study aimed to develop a generic measure of craving based on Elaborated Intrusion (EI) Theory. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) examined whether a generic measure replicated the 3-factor structure of the Alcohol Craving Experience (ACE) scale over different consummatory targets and timeframes. Design: Twelve studies were pooled for CFA. Targets included alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate and food. Focal periods varied from the present moment to the previous week. Separate analyses were conducted for Strength and Frequency forms. Setting: Nine studies included university students, with single studies drawn from an Internet survey, a community sample of smokers, and alcohol-dependent outpatients. Participants: A heterogeneous sample of 1230 participants. Measurements: Adaptations of the Alcohol Craving Experience (ACE) questionnaire. Findings: Both craving Strength (CFI .974; RMSEA .039, 95%CI .035-.044) and Frequency (CFI .971, RMSEA .049, 95%CI .044-.055) gave an acceptable three-factor solution across desired targets that mapped onto the structure of the original ACE (Intensity, Imagery, Intrusiveness), after removing an item, reallocating another and taking intercorrelated error terms into account. Similar structures were obtained across timeframes and targets. Preliminary validity data on the resulting 10-item Craving Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) for cigarettes and alcohol were strong. Conclusions: The Craving Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) is a brief, conceptually grounded and psychometrically sound measure of desires. It demonstrates a consistent factor structure across a range of consummatory targets in both laboratory and clinical contexts.
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