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Monday, May 17, 2010

Is the Full Version of the AUDIT Really Necessary? Study of the Validity and Internal Construct of Its Abbreviated Versions

This study was aimed at assessing the psychometric qualities of the abbreviated versions of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-3, AUDIT-4, AUDIT-C, AUDIT-PC, AUDIT-QF, FAST, and Five-Shot) and at comparing them to the 10-item AUDIT and the CAGE in 2 samples of Brazilian adults.

The validity and internal consistency of the scales were assessed in a sample of 530 subjects attended at an emergency department and at a Psychosocial Care Center for Alcohol and Drugs. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV was used as the diagnostic comparative measure for the predictive validity assessment. The concurrent validity between the scales was analyzed by means of Pearson's correlation coefficient.

The assessment of the predictive validity of the abbreviated versions showed high sensitivity (of 0.78 to 0.96) and specificity (of 0.74 to 0.94) indices, with areas under the curve as elevated as those of the AUDIT (0.89 and 0.92 to screen for abuse and 0.93 and 0.95 in the screening of dependence). The CAGE presented lower indices: 0.81 for abuse and 0.87 for dependence. The analysis of the internal consistency of the AUDIT and its versions exhibited Cronbach's alpha coefficients between 0.83 and 0.94, while the coefficient for the CAGE was 0.78. Significant correlations were found between the 10-item AUDIT and its versions, ranging from 0.91 to 0.99. Again, the results for the CAGE were satisfactory (0.77), although inferior to the other instruments.

The results obtained in this study confirm the validity of the abbreviated versions of the AUDIT for the screening of alcohol use disorders and show that their psychometric properties are as satisfactory as those of the 10-item AUDIT and the CAGE.

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