Send to

Choose Destination
J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 Mar;77(2):354-61.

The Reasons for Heavy Drinking Questionnaire: Factor Structure and Validity in Alcohol-Dependent Adults Involved in Clinical Trials.

Author information

Charleston Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.



People consume alcohol at problematic levels for many reasons. These different motivational pathways may have different biological underpinnings. Valid, brief measures that discriminate individuals' reasons for drinking could facilitate inquiry into whether varied drinking motivations account for differential response to pharmacotherapies for alcohol use disorders. The current study evaluated the factor structure and predictive validity of a brief measure of alcohol use motivations developed for use in randomized clinical trials, the Reasons for Heavy Drinking Questionnaire (RHDQ).


The RHDQ was administered before treatment to 265 participants (70% male) with alcohol dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, in three pharmacotherapy randomized clinical trials. Principal components analysis was used in half the sample to determine the RHDQ factor structure. This structure was verified with confirmatory factor analysis in the second half of the sample. The factors derived from this analysis were evaluated with respect to alcohol dependence severity indices.


A two-factor solution was identified. Factors were interpreted as Reinforcement and Normalizing. Reinforcement scores were weakly to moderately associated with severity, whereas normalizing scores were moderately to strongly associated with severity. In all cases in which significant associations between RHDQ scores and severity indices were observed, the relationship was significantly stronger for normalizing than for reinforcing.


The RHDQ is a promising brief assessment of motivations for heavy alcohol use, particularly in the context of randomized clinical trials. Additional research should address factor structure stability in non-treatment-seeking individuals and the RHDQ's utility in detecting and accounting for changes in drinking behavior, including in response to intervention.

[Available on 2017-03-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center