Sep 4, 2014
INTRODUCTION: The PROMIS® Smoking Initiative has developed an assessment toolkit for measuring 6 domains of interest to cigarette smoking research: nicotine dependence, coping expectancies, emotional and sensory expectancies, health expectancies, psychosocial expectancies, and social motivations for smoking. The papers in this supplement describe the methods used to develop these item banks, their psychometric properties, and the preliminary evidence for their validity. This commentary is meant to provide background information for the material in this supplement. METHODS: After discussing the use of item response theory in behavioral measurement, I will briefly review the initial developmental steps for the smoking assessment toolkit. Finally, I will describe the contents of this supplement and provide some closing remarks. RESULTS: Psychometric evidence strongly supports the utility of the toolkit of item banks, short forms (SFs), and computer adaptive tests (CATs). The item banks for daily smokers produce scores with reliability estimates above 0.90 for a wide range of each cigarette smoking domain continuum, and SF and CAT administrations also achieve high reliability (generally greater than 0.85) using very few items (4–7 items for most banks). Performance of the banks for nondaily smokers is similar. Preliminary evidence supports the concurrent and the discriminant validity of the bank domains. CONCLUSIONS: The new smoking assessment toolkit has attractive measurement features that are likely to benefit smoking research as researchers begin to utilize this resource. Information about the toolkit and access to the assessments is available at the project Web site (http://www.rand.org/health/projects/promis-smoking-initiative.html) and can also be accessed via the PROMIS Assessment Center (www.assessmentcenter.net).