The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: An Update of Research Findings

Authors


Reprint requests: Duane F. Reinert, Ph.D., Director, Counseling Services, PO Box 502, Conception Seminary College, Conception, MO 64433-0502; Fax: 785-943-2214; E-mail: dreinert@conception.edu

Abstract

Background: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) has been extensively researched to determine its capability to accurately and practically screen for alcohol problems.

Methods: During the 5 years since our previous review of the literature, a large number of additional studies have been published on the AUDIT, abbreviated versions of it, its psychometric properties, and the applicability of the AUDIT for a diverse array of populations. The current article summarizes new findings and integrates them with results of previous research. It also suggests some issues that we believe are particularly in need of further study.

Results: A growing body of research evidence supports the criterion validity of English version of the AUDIT as a screen for alcohol dependence as well as for less severe alcohol problems. Nevertheless, the cut-points for effective detection of hazardous drinking as well as identification of alcohol dependence or harmful use in women need to be lowered from the originally recommended value of 8 points. The AUDIT-C, the most popular short version of the AUDIT consisting solely of its 3 consumption items, is approximately equal in accuracy to the full AUDIT. Psychometric properties of the AUDIT, such as test–retest reliability and internal consistency, are quite favorable. Continued research is urged to establish the psychometric properties of non-English versions of the AUDIT, use of the AUDIT with adolescents and with older adults, and selective inclusion of alcohol biomarkers with the AUDIT in some instances.

Conclusions: Research continues to support use of the AUDIT as a means of screening for the spectrum of alcohol use disorders in various settings and with diverse populations.

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