The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) as a screen for at-risk drinking in primary care patients of different racial/ethnic backgrounds

Authors

  • ROBERT J. VOLK,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1Department of Family Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas
      Dr Robert J. Volk, Department of Family Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, Texas 77555-0853, USA. Tel: + 1 (409)7723124; Fax: + 1 (409) 772 5820; email: bvolk%utmbgalv@mhost.utmb.edu
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  • JEFFREY R. STEINBAUER,

    1. 1Department of Family Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas
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  • SCOTT B. CANTOR,

    1. 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas
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  • CHARLES E HOLZER III

    1. 2Section of General Internal Medicine, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
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Dr Robert J. Volk, Department of Family Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, Texas 77555-0853, USA. Tel: + 1 (409)7723124; Fax: + 1 (409) 772 5820; email: bvolk%utmbgalv@mhost.utmb.edu

Abstract

This study examined the operating characteristics of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) as a screen for “at-risk” drinking in a multi-ethnic sample of primary care patients, from a family practice center located in the southwestern United States. A probability sample of 1333 family medicine patients, stratified by gender and racial/ethnic background (white, African-American and Mexican-American) completed the AUDIT, followed by the Alcohol Use Disorders and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule (AUDADIS) to determine ICD-10 diagnoses. Indicators of hazardous alcohol use and alcohol-related problems were included as measures of “at-risk” drinking. Despite differences in the spectrum of alcohol problems across patient subgroups, there was no evidence of gender or racial/ethnic bias in the AUDIT as indicated by Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve analysis. Excluding abstainers from the analysis had little impact on screening efficacy. In this patient population, the A UDIT appears to be an unbiased measure of “at-risk” drinking.

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