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Residents' knowledge of standard drink equivalents: Implications for screening and brief intervention for at-risk alcohol use



Background and Objectives

Screening and brief intervention for reducing alcohol consumption has been demonstrated to be effective in various medical settings. The NIAAA has recommended that physicians screen all patients for at-risk and problem drinking. Often, screening is based on the concept of a “standard drink.”


We administered a survey to residents (N = 270) in order to assess their knowledge of standard drink equivalents and quantities of alcohol in various sizes of bottles.


Although 89% of the responders stated that they had previously learned about screening for at-risk alcohol use, the majority did not know basic facts about standard drink equivalents.

Discussion and Conclusions

Many trainees are not familiar with typical standard drink equivalents. This can have a significant impact on the screening of patients for problem drinking using screening tools that rely on standard drink equivalents. (Am J Addict 2014;23:194–196)

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