The prevalence of smoking among alcohol abusers is high, yet little is known about this dual-dependency. This study examines mechanisms involved in changing both alcohol and tobacco use concurrently using the transtheoretical model (TTM) measures of change. Alcohol and tobacco dependent outpatients (N=115) entering a dual-substance dependence program were compared on baseline measures of motivation, self-initiated change activities, and self-efficacy associated with each substance use behavior. Differences on these measures were expected for drinking versus smoking. Motivation to change each behavior was also examined as a potential predictor of retention in treatment. Results indicated that patients reported higher self-efficacy to abstain and lower temptation to use alcohol relative to cigarettes. Change activities were also initiated at higher levels for drinking compared with smoking. An interaction between drinking and smoking motivation for change was found in the prediction of treatment retention; those with higher motivation for changing their alcohol use and lower motivation to quit smoking remained longer in treatment, while those who were higher in motivation for changing both behaviors dropped out the earliest. Overall, participants in this dual-dependence program were more confident and active in changing their alcohol use. Initiating cessation of both behaviors equally and simultaneously may prove difficult for this population. This study initiates an understanding of the mechanisms involved in changing alcohol-tobacco dependence and may provide guidance for developing dual cessation interventions.
- Transtheoretical model