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Journal Article


Letourneau B, Sobell LC, Sobell MB, Agrawal S, Gioia CJ. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 2017; 41(5): 1035-1043.


Department of Psychology, Brogden Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.


(Copyright © 2017, John Wiley and Sons)






BACKGROUND: Several psychometrically sound measures of alcohol use have been developed to assess drinking. The AUDIT, and its shorter counterpart the AUDIT-C, which contains the first three AUDIT questions, were developed by the World Health Organization and have become the preferred brief measures for screening and evaluating problem severity. This study compared the first three questions on the AUDIT with another psychometrically sound brief measure of alcohol use, the Quick Drinking Screen (QDS).

METHODS: Data were obtained from a randomized controlled trial of a mail-based intervention promoting self-change with 472 alcohol abusers (n = 280, no prior alcohol treatment; n = 192, prior alcohol treatment). Participants' retrospective self-reports of alcohol consumption were collected using the QDS and the three AUDIT-C questions and compared. Although both measures contain similar questions (2 quantity-frequency and 1 binge drinking), they differ in two important ways: (a) temporal interval over which data are collected, and (b) formatting of response options (i.e., a continuous number vs. categorical).

RESULTS: Intraclass correlations for drinking variables were moderate to moderately high. A repeated measures MANOVA using treatment condition and gender as variables revealed significant differences in absolute values between the two drinking measures with the QDS showing greater consumption on almost all variables. Participants' numerical answers on the QDS were compared to their categorical answers to the similar alcohol use questions on the AUDIT-C. The comparison revealed that participants' answers on the AUDIT-C were associated with extreme variability compared to their QDS answers. This variability suggests the AUDIT-C would be unreliable as a quantitative measure of alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: The differences between the three alcohol use questions on the AUDIT-C's and the same questions on the QDS may reflect the imprecision of the AUDIT-C's drinking response categories.

RESULTS suggest that the QDS can be used to identify risky drinking and to provide a more informative characterization of a drinker's alcohol consumption than that provided by the AUDIT-C. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Language: en


AUDIT; AUDIT-C; Brief alcohol screening measures; Quick Drinking Screen


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