The Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale (NDSS) is a new multidimensional measure of nicotine dependence. The study aim was to examine the structure and heritability of the NDSS and its associations with nicotine dependence defined by FTND and DSM-IV criteria among Finnish smokers participating in an ongoing twin-family study. Adult twin pairs concordant for smoking from the Finnish Twin Cohort Study, and their siblings and parents were interviewed. Among 1370 smokers, the sum score of the NDSS (a summary measure of dependence) correlated moderately highly with FTND score (r = 0.62). Subjects in the highest NDSS sum score groups were more likely to be nicotine dependent according to DSM-IV criteria compared with those in the lowest quintile (odds ratio = 36.7, 95% confidence interval 13.0-103). In exploratory factor analysis, we derived three factors, named drive/priority, stereotypy/continuity and tolerance. The drive/priority factor correlated best with FTND (r = 0.54). Genetic modeling showed no differences in the genetic architecture of NDSS or FTND by gender; the overall heritability estimate for NDSS was 0.30 (95% CI 0.06-0.47), and for FTND 0.40 (95% CI 0.23-0.55). The sum score of the NDSS is moderately highly associated with DSM-IV nicotine dependence as well as FTND. These analyses indicate that the NDSS functions well in a Finnish family-based sample and provide additional validation of a new scale developed to capture complex behavioural features of nicotine dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 15 2007


  • DSM-IV
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Tobacco use disorders
  • Twin study
  • Validity and reliability


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