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The Influence of Web- Versus Paper-based Formats on the Assessment of Tobacco Dependence: Evaluating the Measurement Invariance of the Dimensions of Tobacco Dependence Scale

Keywords: tobacco dependence , adolescent , web-based survey , internet , psychometrics , validity , measurement invariance

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Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of mode of administration (internet-based, web survey format versus pencil-and-paper format) on responses to the Dimensions of Tobacco Dependence Scale (DTDS). Responses from 1,484 adolescents that reported using tobacco (mean age 16 years) were examined; 354 (23.9%) participants completed a web-based version and 1,130 (76.1%) completed a paper-based version of the survey. Both surveys were completed in supervised classroom environments. Use of the web-based format was associated with significantly shorter completion times and a small but statistically significant increase in the number of missing responses. Tests of measurement invariance indicated that using a web-based mode of administration did not influence the psychometric functioning of the DTDS. There were no significant differences between the web- and paper-based groups’ ratings of the survey’s length, their question comprehension, and their response accuracy. Overall, the results of the study support the equivalence of scores obtained from web- and paper-based versions of the DTDS in secondary school settings.

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