This study examined the dimensionality of DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (AUD) criteria in a nationally representative sample of college students (N = 4,605) using latent variable techniques. We used data from the 2009 National Survey of Drug Use and Health and selected those who were currently enrolled in college and current drinkers.
Confirmatory factor analysis provided support for a one-factor solution of the AUD criteria. Item Response Theory analyses indicated that the alcohol abuse and dependence criteria severity parameters were intermixed along the AUD severity continuum with high discrimination parameters.
Findings support reformulating the current AUD diagnostic system for the DSM-V. Study's limitations are noted.