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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Feb;46(2):257-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

Beyond motivation: Initial validation of the commitment to sobriety scale.

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Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Electronic address:


From an addiction treatment and recovery standpoint maladaptive motivational hierarchies lie at the core of the challenge in mobilizing salutary behavior change. Motivation has been conceptualized as dynamic, interactive and modifiable, as well as multidimensional. Measures of recovery motivation have been developed and validated, but are generally only modest and variable predictors of future behavior. A related, but potentially more potent, construct, is that of commitment to sobriety as it denotes a clearer re-ranking of motivational hierarchies such that the recovery task is now given a top priority potentially less susceptible to the risks associated with undulating future circumstance. This study investigated the psychometric properties of a novel commitment to sobriety scale (CSS). Results revealed a coherent, psychometrically valid, and reliable tool that outperformed an existing commitment to abstinence scale (ATAQ; J. Morgenstern, R.M. Frey, B.S. McCrady, E. Labouvie, & C.J. Neighbors, 1996) and a gold standard measure of motivation (SOCRATES; W.R. Miller & J.S. Tonigan, 1996). This study highlights commitment to sobriety as an important addiction construct. Researchers and theoreticians may find the CSS useful in helping to explain how individuals achieve recovery, and practitioners may find clinical utility in the CSS in helping identify patients in need of more intensive or alternative intervention.


Addiction; Commitment; Motivation; Sobriety; Substance abuse treatment; Young adults

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