Although originally developed for adolescents, this scale is very usable for young adults as well (see text and references). There is also an even shorter form (Kuntsche et al, 2009).


According to some alcohol and drug researchers, alcohol is the most harmful drug around. This point was made in an influential study by Nutt and colleagues (2010).

Nutt and colleagues concluded that alcohol is the most harmful drug. The study published in the top medical journal The Lancet was widely covered in the news in 2010, like here on the BBC (with video).
Interestingly, the British drink a lot. For example, a 2015 news article based on an academic study published in the open access journal BMC states that Brits drink the equivalent of 12 million bottles of wine each week. At the same time, the amount drunk in the UK has been going down a bit in the past years, though, as can be read here.

The level of alcohol consumption is of great concern, even more so in adolescents. Even drinking small amounts of alcohol on a daily basis can have serious long term effects. For example:

  • Seitz and colleagues (2012) wrote: "A significant increase of the order of 4% in the risk of breast cancer is already present at intakes of up to one alcoholic drink/day.".

  • Even a small amount of alcohol a day (i.e., one drink) can affect heart performance in women (Yoneyama & Lima, 2015). Read here in the news and in article online.

Adolescents and young adults drink for different reasons. The DMQ-R measures how people score on the four motivational dimensions. Originally developed by Cooper (1994), the underlying factor structure has been confirmed by Kuntsche et al. (2006) in Switzerland.

There are four types of motives:

  • Social — Drinking to be sociable, to celebrate parties

  • Coping — Drinking because it makes you forget about problems

  • Enhancement — Drinking to feel better or to be able to do things otherwise impossible

  • Social pressure and conformity — Drinking because others do, to fit in

Below are average data of a representative sample of adolescents (13-19 years) in the USA, measured in 1989-1990 are shown. Of this sample, only those who had had alcohol at least once in their life (n=1243, mean age 17.3, 61% of the full sample).

In the USA, it is illegal to drink alcohol if you are under 21. Still, 61% of adolescents had experience with alcohol.
Motive score







Social pressure/conformity


Run the demo

It seems that the DMQ-R be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (References).


This is a simple scale question with 20 Likert items. There are 5 items for each subscale.

If you wish, you can use the short version which has 3 items per subscale (Kuntsche & Kuntsche, 2009).

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: frequency
- almost never/never
- some of the time
- half of the time
- most of the time
- almost always/always

l: dmqr
t: scale frequency
q: <b>INSTRUCTIONS:</b><br>
Listed below are 20 reasons people might be inclined to drink
alcoholic beverages.<br>
Using the five-point scale below, decide how frequently your own
drinking is motivated by each of the reasons listed.<br><br>
<b>YOU DRINK ...</b><br>
o: random
o: width 40%
- To forget your worries.
- Because your friends pressure you to drink.
- Because it helps you enjoy a party.
- Because it helps you when you feel depressed or nervous.
- To be sociable.
- To cheer up when you are in a bad mood.
- Because you like the feeling.
- So that others won’t kid you about not drinking
- Because it’s exciting.
- To get high.
- Because it makes social gatherings more fun.
- To fit in with a group you like.
- Because it gives you a pleasant feeling.
- Because it improves parties and celebrations.
- Because you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself.
- To celebrate a special occasion with friends.
- To forget about your problems.
- Because it’s fun.
- To be liked.
- So you won’t feel left out.

l: soc
t: set
- sum $dmqr.3 $dmqr.5 $dmqr.11 $dmqr.14 $dmqr.16

l: cop
t: set
- sum $dmqr.1 $dmqr.4 $dmqr.6 $dmqr.15 $dmqr.17

l: enh
t: set
- sum $dmqr.7 $dmqr.9 $dmqr.10 $dmqr.13 $dmqr.18

l: con
t: set
- sum $dmqr.2 $dmqr.8 $dmqr.12 $dmqr.19 $dmqr.20

l: feedback
t: info
q: There are 4 different motives to drink alcohol, each on a scale from 5 to 25.<br>
Your scores are as follows:
<li>Social motives score: {$soc}
<li>Coping motives score: {$cop}
<li>Enhancement motives score: {$enh}
<li>Social pressure and confirmity motives: {$con}
<br>Write down your scores.
<br>You can compare your scores to those of others on the PsyToolkit website.


  • Cooper, M. L. (1994). Motivations for Alcohol Use Among Adolescents: Development and Validation of a Four-Factor Model. Psychological Assessment, 6(2), 117-128.

The Cooper paper does not show up on the Web of Science database, but you can find it on the Psychological Assessment website if you have access.
  • Web resources about the scale

  • Kuntsche, E, Knibbe, R., Gmel, G, Engels, R (2006). Replication and Validation of the Drinking Motive Questionnaire Revised (DMQ-R, Cooper, 1994) among Adolescents in Switzerland. European Addiction Research, 12, 161-168.

  • Kuntsche E and Kuntsche S. (2009). Development and validation of the Drinking Motive Questionnaire Revised Short Form (DMQ-R SF). Journal of Clinincal Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 899-908.

  • Nutt, D. J., King, L. A., & Phillips, L. D. (2010). Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. Lancet, 376, 1558-1565.

  • Seitz, H.K., Pelucchi C., Bagnardi, V. & La Vecchia, C. (2012). Epidemiology and pathophysiology of alcohol and breast cancer: Update 2012. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 47, 2014-2012.

  • Yoneyama, K. & Lima, J.A.C. Alcohol Consumption and Myocardial Remodeling in Elderly Women and Men. Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, 8, e003523.