The Psychometric Properties of the Minnesota Tobacco Withdrawal Scale Among Patients with Mental Illness

Background and Objectives:

Approximately 65% of psychiatric inpatients experience moderate-to-severe nicotine withdrawal (NW), a set of symptoms appearing within 24 hr after an abrupt cessation or reduction of use of tobacco-containing products in those using nicotine daily for at least a couple of weeks. The Minnesota Tobacco Withdrawal Scale (MTWS) is a widely used instrument for detecting NW. However, the psychometric properties of the MTWS have not previously been examined among patients with serious mental illness (SMI) undergoing tobacco-free hospitalization. The objective of this study was to examine the validity and reliability of the MTWS among patients with SMI during tobacco-free psychiatric hospitalization.



Reliability was tested by examining Cronbach’s α and item analysis. Validity was examined through hypothesis testing and exploratory factor analysis (N = 255).



The reliability analysis yielded a Cronbach’s α coefficient of .763, an inter-item correlations coefficient of .393, and item-total correlations between .291 and .691. Hypothesis testing confirmed the construct validity of the MTWS, and an exploratory factor analysis yielded a unidimensional scale.



The MTWS demonstrated adequate reliable and valid psychometric properties for measuring NW among patients with SMI. Nurses and other health-care professionals may use this instrument in clinical practice to identify patients with SMI experiencing NW. The MTWS is psychometrically sound for capturing NW during tobacco-free psychiatric hospitalization. Future research should examine the efficacy of the MTWS in measuring NW in this population over an extended period of hospitalization.