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1.  Alcohol Screening Scores and the Risk of New-Onset Gastrointestinal Illness or Related Hospitalization 
Excessive alcohol use is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes, including liver disease, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and pancreatitis.
To determine the 2-year risk of gastrointestinal-related hospitalization and new-onset gastrointestinal illness based on alcohol screening scores.
Retrospective cohort study.
Male (N = 215, 924) and female (N = 9,168) outpatients who returned mailed questionnaires and were followed for 24 months.
Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test—Consumption Questionnaire (AUDIT-C), a validated three-item alcohol screening questionnaire (0–12 points).
Two-year risk of hospitalization with a gastrointestinal disorder was increased in men with AUDIT-C scores of 5–8 and 9–12 (OR 1.54, 95% CI = 1.27–1.86; and OR 3.27; 95% CI = 2.62–4.09 respectively), and women with AUDIT-C scores of 9–12 (OR 6.84, 95% CI = 1.85 – 25.37). Men with AUDIT-C scores of 5–8 and 9–12 had increased risk of new-onset liver disease (OR 1.49, 95% CI = 1.30–1.71; and OR 2.82, 95% CI = 2.38–3.34 respectively), and new-onset of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (OR 1.28, 95% CI = 1.05–1.57; and OR 2.14, 95% CI = 1.54-2.97 respectively). Two-year risk of new-onset pancreatitis in men with AUDIT -C scores 9–12 was also increased (OR 2.14; 95% CI = 1.54–2.97).
Excessive alcohol use as determined by AUDIT-C is associated with 2-year increased risk of gastrointestinal-related hospitalization in men and women and new-onset liver disease, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and pancreatitis in men. These results provide risk information that clinicians can use in evidence-based conversations with patients about their alcohol consumption.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1688-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3138581  PMID: 21455813
alcohol; AUDIT; gastrointestinal; hospitalization; new-onset; women
2.  Associations Between AUDIT-C and Mortality Vary by Age and Sex 
Population Health Management  2010;13(5):263-268.
We sought to determine the sex- and age-specific risk of mortality associated with scores on the 3-item Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test–Consumption (AUDIT-C) questionnaire using data from a national sample of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients. Men (N = 215,924) and women (N = 9168) who completed the AUDIT-C in a patient survey were followed for 24 months. AUDIT-C categories (0, 1–4, 5–8, 9–12) were evaluated as predictors of mortality in logistic regression models, adjusted for age, race, education, marital status, smoking, depression, and comorbidities. For women, AUDIT-C scores of 9–12 were associated with a significantly increased risk of death compared to the AUDIT-C 1-4 group (odds ratio [OR] 7.09; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.67, 18.82). For men overall, AUDIT-C scores of 5–8 and 9–12 were associated with increased risk of death compared to the AUDIT-C 1-4 group (OR 1.13, 95% CI = 1.05, 1.21, and OR 1.63, 95% CI = 1.45, 1.84, respectively) but these associations varied by age. These results provide sex- and age-tailored risk information that clinicians can use in evidence-based conversations with patients about the health-related risks of their alcohol consumption. This study adds to the growing literature establishing the AUDIT-C as a scaled marker of alcohol-related risk or “vital sign” that might facilitate the detection and management of alcohol-related risks and problems. (Population Health Management 2010;13:263–268)
PMCID: PMC3135896  PMID: 20879907
3.  Alcohol use in the first three years of bereavement: a national representative survey 
Earlier results concerning alcohol consumption of bereaved persons are contradictory. The aim of the present study was to analyze the relationship between bereavement and alcohol consumption accounting for time and gender differences on a nationally representative sample from Hungary ("Hungarostudy Epidemiological Panel Survey", N = 4457)
Drinking characteristics of mourning persons (alcohol consumption, dependence symptoms, and harmful consequences of alcohol use) in the first three years of grief were examined among persons between 18-75 years using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).
Men bereaved for one year scored higher on two dimensions of AUDIT (dependence symptoms and harmful alcohol use), while men bereaved for two years scored higher on all three dimensions of AUDIT compared to the non-bereaved. The rate of men clinically at-risk concerning alcohol consumption among the non-bereaved is 12.9%, and among men bereaved for one year is 18.4% (a non-significant difference), while 29.8% (p < 0.001, OR = 2,781) among men bereaved for two years. However, men bereaved for three years did not differ from the non-bereaved in their drinking habits. In case of bereaved women, again no difference was found with respect to alcohol use compared to the non-bereaved.
Among bereaved men, the risk of alcohol related problems tends to be higher, which can be shown both among men bereaved for one year as well as men bereaved for two years. Considering the higher morbidity and mortality rates of bereaved men, alcohol consumption might play a mediator role. These facts draw attention to the importance of prevention, early recognition, and effective therapy of hazardous drinking in bereaved men.
PMCID: PMC3286419  PMID: 22248360
bereavement; alcohol consumption; national representative survey; gender differences
4.  Interrelationship of alcohol misuse, HIV sexual risk and HIV screening uptake among emergency department patients 
Emergency department (ED) patients comprise a high-risk population for alcohol misuse and sexual risk for HIV. In order to design future interventions to increase HIV screening uptake, we examined the interrelationship among alcohol misuse, sexual risk for HIV and HIV screening uptake among these patients.
A random sample of 18-64-year-old English- or Spanish-speaking patients at two EDs during July-August 2009 completed a self-administered questionnaire about their alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Questionnaire, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and the HIV Sexual Risk Questionnaire. Study participants were offered a rapid HIV test after completing the questionnaires. Binging (≥ five drinks/occasion for men, ≥ four drinks for women) was assessed and sex-specific alcohol misuse severity levels (low-risk, harmful, hazardous, dependence) were calculated using AUDIT scores. Analyses were limited to participants who had sexual intercourse in the past 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the associations between HIV screening uptake and (1) alcohol misuse, (2) sexual risk for HIV, and (3) the intersection of HIV sexual risk and alcohol misuse. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. All models were adjusted for patient demographic characteristics and separate models for men and women were constructed.
Of 524 participants (55.0% female), 58.4% identified as white, non-Hispanic, and 72% reported previous HIV testing. Approximately 75% of participants reported drinking alcohol within the past 30 days and 74.5% of men and 59.6% of women reported binge drinking. A relationship was found between reported sexual risk for HIV and alcohol use among men (AOR 3.31 [CI 1.51-7.24]) and women (AOR 2.78 [CI 1.48-5.23]). Women who reported binge drinking were more likely to have higher reported sexual risk for HIV (AOR 2.55 [CI 1.40-4.64]) compared to women who do not report binge drinking. HIV screening uptake was not higher among those with greater alcohol misuse and sexual risk among men or women.
The apparent disconnection between HIV screening uptake and alcohol misuse and sexual risk for HIV among ED patients in this study is concerning. Brief interventions emphasizing these associations should be evaluated to reduce alcohol misuse and sexual risk and increase the uptake of ED HIV screening.
PMCID: PMC3686630  PMID: 23721108
Emergency services; Hospital; Ethanol/blood; Questionnaires; Sexual behavior risk; HIV; Intervention
5.  Alcohol Screening and Risk of Postoperative Complications in Male VA Patients Undergoing Major Non-cardiac Surgery 
Patients who misuse alcohol are at increased risk for surgical complications. Four weeks of preoperative abstinence decreases the risk of complications, but practical approaches for early preoperative identification of alcohol misuse are needed.
To evaluate whether results of alcohol screening with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test - Consumption (AUDIT-C) questionnaire—up to a year before surgery—were associated with the risk of postoperative complications.
This is a cohort study.
Male Veterans Affairs (VA) patients were eligible if they had major noncardiac surgery assessed by the VA’s Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) in fiscal years 2004-2006, and completed the AUDIT-C alcohol screening questionnaire (0-12 points) on a mailed survey within 1 year before surgery.
One or more postoperative complication(s) within 30 days of surgery based on VASQIP nurse medical record reviews.
Among 9,176 eligible men, 16.3% screened positive for alcohol misuse with AUDIT-C scores ≥ 5, and 7.8% had postoperative complications. Patients with AUDIT-C scores ≥ 5 were at significantly increased risk for postoperative complications, compared to patients who drank less. In analyses adjusted for age, smoking, and days from screening to surgery, the estimated prevalence of postoperative complications increased from 5.6% (95% CI 4.8–6.6%) in patients with AUDIT-C scores 1–4, to 7.9% (6.3–9.7%) in patients with AUDIT-Cs 5–8, 9.7% (6.6–14.1%) in patients with AUDIT-Cs 9–10 and 14.0% (8.9–21.3%) in patients with AUDIT-Cs 11–12. In fully-adjusted analyses that included preoperative covariates potentially in the causal pathway between alcohol misuse and complications, the estimated prevalence of postoperative complications increased significantly from 4.8% (4.1–5.7%) in patients with AUDIT-C scores 1–4, to 6.9% (5.5–8.7%) in patients with AUDIT-Cs 5-8 and 7.5% (5.0–11.3%) among those with AUDIT-Cs 9–10.
AUDIT-C scores of 5 or more up to a year before surgery were associated with increased postoperative complications.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1475-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3019325  PMID: 20878363
alcohol screening; surgical outcomes; AUDIT-C
6.  Differences in Characteristics and Treatment Received among Depressed Adolescent Psychiatric Outpatients with and without Co-Occuring Alcohol Misuse: A 1-Year Follow-Up Study 
Objectives. We aimed at examining the differences between depressed psychiatric adolescent outpatients with and without cooccurring alcohol misuse in psychosocial background, clinical characteristics, and treatment received during one-year followup. Furthermore, we investigated factors related to nonattendance at treatment. Materials and Methods. Consecutive 156 adolescent (13–19 years) psychiatric outpatients with a unipolar depressive disorder at baseline were interviewed using structured measures at baseline and at 12 months. Alcohol misuse was defined as having an AUDIT score of 8 or more points. The outpatients received “treatment as usual” of clinically defined duration. Results. Among depressive outpatients, poor parental support, parental alcohol use and decreased attendance at treatment associated with alcohol misuse. The severity of alcohol use as measured by AUDIT-score was the strongest factor independently predicting nonattendance at treatment in multivariate analysis. Conclusions. Alcohol misuse indicates family problems, has a deleterious effect on treatment attendance, and should be taken into account when managing treatment for depressive adolescent outpatients.
PMCID: PMC3124235  PMID: 21738866
7.  Study Protocol: Screening and Treatment of Alcohol-Related Trauma (START) – a randomised controlled trial 
The incidence of mandibular fractures in the Northern Territory of Australia is very high, especially among Indigenous people. Alcohol intoxication is implicated in the majority of facial injuries, and substance use is therefore an important target for secondary prevention. The current study tests the efficacy of a brief therapy, Motivational Care Planning, in improving wellbeing and substance misuse in youth and adults hospitalised with alcohol-related facial trauma.
Methods and design
The study is a randomised controlled trial with 6 months of follow-up, to examine the effectiveness of a brief and culturally adapted intervention in improving outcomes for trauma patients with at-risk drinking admitted to the Royal Darwin Hospital maxillofacial surgery unit. Potential participants are identified using AUDIT-C questionnaire. Eligible participants are randomised to either Motivational Care Planning (MCP) or Treatment as Usual (TAU). The outcome measures will include quantity and frequency of alcohol and other substance use by Timeline Followback. The recruitment target is 154 participants, which with 20% dropout, is hoped to provide 124 people receiving treatment and follow-up.
This project introduces screening and brief interventions for high-risk drinkers admitted to the hospital with facial trauma. It introduces a practical approach to integrating brief interventions in the hospital setting, and has potential to demonstrate significant benefits for at-risk drinkers with facial trauma.
Trial Registration
The trial has been registered in Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) and Trial Registration: ACTRN12611000135910.
PMCID: PMC3506513  PMID: 23106916
Facial trauma; Indigenous Australians or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders; Alcohol related injury; Culturally appropriate intervention
8.  Military Sexual Trauma Among Homeless Veterans 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2013;28(Suppl 2):536-541.
Military sexual trauma (MST) is the Veteran Health Administration’s (VHA) term for sexual assault and/or sexual harassment that occurs during military service. The experience of MST is associated with a variety of mental health conditions. Preliminary research suggests that MST may be associated with homelessness among female Veterans, although to date MST has not been examined in a national study of both female and male homeless Veterans.
To estimate the prevalence of MST, examine the association between MST and mental health conditions, and describe mental health utilization among homeless women and men.
National, cross-sectional study of 126,598 homeless Veterans who used VHA outpatient care in fiscal year 2010.
All variables were obtained from VHA administrative databases, including MST screening status, ICD-9-CM codes to determine mental health diagnoses, and VHA utilization.
Of homeless Veterans in VHA, 39.7 % of females and 3.3 % of males experienced MST. Homeless Veterans who experienced MST demonstrated a significantly higher likelihood of almost all mental health conditions examined as compared to other homeless women and men, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, suicide, and, among men only, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. Nearly all homeless Veterans had at least one mental health visit and Veterans who experienced MST utilized significantly more mental health visits compared to Veterans who did not experience MST.
A substantial proportion of homeless Veterans using VHA services have experienced MST, and those who experienced MST had increased odds of mental health diagnoses. Homeless Veterans who had experienced MST had higher intensity of mental health care utilization and high rates of MST-related mental health care. This study highlights the importance of trauma-informed care among homeless Veterans and the success of VHA homeless programs in providing mental health care to homeless Veterans.
PMCID: PMC3695264  PMID: 23807062
Veterans; homelessness; sexual assault; mental health
9.  Socio-demographic Predictors of Dimensions of the AUDIT Score in A Population Sample of Working-age Men in Izhevsk, Russia 
Aims: To investigate the relationship between socio-demographic factors and alcohol drinking patterns identified through a formal analysis of the factor structure of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score in a population sample of working-age men in Russia. Methods: In 2008–2009, a sample of 1005 men aged 25–59 years living in Izhevsk, Russia were interviewed and information collected about socio-demographic circumstances. Responses to the AUDIT questions were obtained through a self-completed questionnaire. Latent dimensions of the AUDIT score were determined using confirmatory factor analysis and expressed as standard deviation (SD) units. Structural equation modelling was used to estimate the strength of association of these dimensions with socio-demographic variables. Results: The AUDIT was found to have a two-factor structure: alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. Both dimensions were higher in men who were unemployed seeking work compared with those in regular paid employment. For consumption, there was a difference of 0.59 SDs, (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.23, 0.88) and for alcohol-related problems one of 0.66 SD (95% CI: 0.31, 1.00). Alcohol-related problems were greater among less educated compared with more educated men (P-value for trend = 0.05), while consumption was not related to education. Similar results were found for associations with an amenity index based on car ownership and central heating. Neither dimension was associated with marital status. While we found evidence that the consumption component of AUDIT was underestimated, this did not appear to explain the associations of this dimension with socio-demographic factors. Conclusions: Education and amenity index, both measures of socio-economic position, were inversely associated with alcohol-related problems but not with consumption. This discordance suggests that self-reported questions on frequency and volume may be less sensitive markers of socio-economic variation in drinking than are questions about dependence and harm. Further investigation of the validity of the consumption component of AUDIT in Russia is warranted as it appears that the concept of a standard ‘drink’ as used in the instrument is not understood.
PMCID: PMC3196365  PMID: 21727097
10.  Estimating Risk of Alcohol Dependence Using Alcohol Screening Scores* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2009;108(1-2):29-36.
Brief alcohol counseling interventions can reduce alcohol consumption and related morbidity among non-dependent risky drinkers, but more intensive alcohol treatment is recommended for persons with alcohol dependence. This study evaluated whether scores on common alcohol screening tests could identify patients likely to have current alcohol dependence so that more appropriate follow-up assessment and/or intervention could be offered. This cross-sectional study used secondary data from 392 male and 927 female adult family medicine outpatients (1993–1994). Likelihood ratios were used to empirically identify and evaluate ranges of scores of the AUDIT, the AUDIT-C, two single-item questions about frequency of binge drinking, and the CAGE questionnaire for detecting DSM-IV past-year alcohol dependence. Based on the prevalence of past-year alcohol dependence in this sample (men: 12.2%; women: 5.8%), zones of the AUDIT and AUDIT-C identified wide variability in the post-screening risk of alcohol dependence in men and women, even among those who screened positive for alcohol misuse. Among men, AUDIT zones 5–10, 11–14 and 15–40 were associated with post-screening probabilities of past-year alcohol dependence ranging from 18–87%, and AUDIT-C zones 5–6, 7–9 and 10–12 were associated with probabilities ranging from 22–75%. Among women, AUDIT zones 3–4, 5–8, 9–12 and 13–40 were associated with post-screening probabilities of past-year alcohol dependence ranging from 6–94%, and AUDIT-C zones 3, 4–6, 7–9 and 10–12 were associated with probabilities ranging from 9–88%. AUDIT or AUDIT-C scores could be used to estimate the probability of past-year alcohol dependence among patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse and inform clinical decision-making.
PMCID: PMC2835806  PMID: 20042299
Alcohol dependence; alcohol screening; stratum specific likelihood ratio; risk stratification; assessment; treatment
11.  Inconsistencies between alcohol screening results based on AUDIT-C scores and reported drinking on the AUDIT-C questions: prevalence in two US national samples 
The AUDIT-C is an extensively validated screen for unhealthy alcohol use (i.e. drinking above recommended limits or alcohol use disorder), which consists of three questions about alcohol consumption. AUDIT-C scores ≥4 points for men and ≥3 for women are considered positive screens based on US validation studies that compared the AUDIT-C to “gold standard” measures of unhealthy alcohol use from independent, detailed interviews. However, results of screening—positive or negative based on AUDIT-C scores—can be inconsistent with reported drinking on the AUDIT-C questions. For example, individuals can screen positive based on the AUDIT-C score while reporting drinking below US recommended limits on the same AUDIT-C. Alternatively, they can screen negative based on the AUDIT-C score while reporting drinking above US recommended limits. Such inconsistencies could complicate interpretation of screening results, but it is unclear how often they occur in practice.
This study used AUDIT-C data from respondents who reported past-year drinking on one of two national US surveys: a general population survey (N = 26,610) and a Veterans Health Administration (VA) outpatient survey (N = 467,416). Gender-stratified analyses estimated the prevalence of AUDIT-C screen results—positive or negative screens based on the AUDIT-C score—that were inconsistent with reported drinking (above or below US recommended limits) on the same AUDIT-C.
Among men who reported drinking, 13.8% and 21.1% of US general population and VA samples, respectively, had screening results based on AUDIT-C scores (positive or negative) that were inconsistent with reported drinking on the AUDIT-C questions (above or below US recommended limits). Among women who reported drinking, 18.3% and 20.7% of US general population and VA samples, respectively, had screening results that were inconsistent with reported drinking.
This study did not include an independent interview gold standard for unhealthy alcohol use and therefore cannot address how often observed inconsistencies represent false positive or negative screens.
Up to 21% of people who drink alcohol had alcohol screening results based on the AUDIT-C score that were inconsistent with reported drinking on the same AUDIT-C. This needs to be addressed when training clinicians to use the AUDIT-C.
PMCID: PMC3946205  PMID: 24468406
AUDIT-C; Brief intervention; Unhealthy alcohol use; Alcohol screening; Heavy episodic drinking
12.  Screening for Problem Drinking 
To compare self-administered versions of three questionnaires for detecting heavy and problem drinking: the CAGE, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and an augmented version of the CAGE.
Cross-sectional surveys.
Three Department of Veterans Affairs general medical clinics.
Random sample of consenting male outpatients who consumed at least 5 drinks over the past year (“drinkers”). Heavy drinkers were oversampled.
An augmented version of the CAGE was included in a questionnaire mailed to all patients. The AUDIT was subsequently mailed to “drinkers.” Comparison standards, based on the tri-level World Health Organization alcohol consumption interview and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, included heavy drinking (>14 drinks per week typically or ≥5 drinks per day at least monthly) and active DSM-IIIR alcohol abuse or dependence (positive diagnosis and at least one alcohol-related symptom in the past year). Areas under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs) were used to compare screening questionnaires.
Of 393 eligible patients, 261 (66%) returned the AUDIT and completed interviews. For detection of active alcohol abuse or dependence, the CAGE augmented with three more questions (AUROC 0.871) performed better than either the CAGE alone or AUDIT (AUROCs 0.820 and 0.777, respectively). For identification of heavy-drinking patients, however, the AUDIT performed best (AUROC 0.870). To identify both heavy drinking and active alcohol abuse or dependence, the augmented CAGE and AUDIT both performed well, but the AUDIT was superior (AUROC 0.861).
For identification of patients with heavy drinking or active alcohol abuse or dependence, the self-administered AUDIT was superior to the CAGE in this population.
PMCID: PMC1496970  PMID: 9669567
alcohol abuse; screening; CAGE; AUDIT; alcohol drinking
13.  Validity of carbohydrate deficient transferrin and other markers as diagnostic aids in the detection of alcohol related seizures 
OBJECTIVE—The role of alcohol misuse in the genesis of seizures is probably often undetected. The aim was to investigate the utility of carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) compared with other biomarkers and clinical examination in the diagnosis of alcohol related seizures.
METHODS—The study included consecutively 158 seizure patients—83 men and 75 women—with mean age 45 (16-79) years. Seizures related to alcohol use were identified by a score ⩾8 in the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT positive). AUDIT was applied as the gold standard to which sensitivity and specificity of the various markers were related. Blood samples were obtained from 150 patients on admission and analysed for ethanol, liver enzymes, and CDT, using AXIS Biochemicals' %CDT-TIA kit.
RESULTS—53 patients (34%) were AUDIT positive. Using the commonly applied decision value for %CDT of 5.0%, a sensitivity of 41% and a specificity of 84% were obtained. Analysis of receiver operator characteristics (ROC) curves disclosed an optimal cut off value for %CDT of 5.4%, which yielded a sensitivity of 39% and a specificity of 88%. At a specificity of 80%, the sensitivity was 43% for %CDT and 26% for GGT. The %CDT sensitivity was markedly higher for men than for women. Compared with GGT, ASAT, ALAT, and ASAT/ALAT ratio, CDT was the best single biomarker for alcohol related seizures. However, even in the subgroup of withdrawal seizures, the sensitivity level barely exceeded 50%. Clinicians scored alcohol as the main cause of the seizure in only 19 cases (12%). In 38 (24%) cases, clinicians suspected that alcohol had a role (sensitivity of 62% at a specificity of 89%). Their ability to identify AUDIT positive patients was better than that of any biomarker, but many cases were missed. Agreement of clinicians' scores to CDT was only fair (κ=0.28). CDT concentrations were significantly increased among alcohol abstaining patients on enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs. Six out of 16 patients with false positive CDT results were exposed to such drugs.
CONCLUSIONS—CDT is not recommended as a stand alone marker for alcohol related seizures, but may provide a useful contribution to the overall diagnostic investigation of seizures. Confirmatory studies are needed as to the apparent vulnerability of CDT to antiepileptic drugs.

PMCID: PMC1736803  PMID: 10675217
14.  Comparing short versions of the AUDIT in a community-based survey of young people 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:301.
The 10-item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-10) is commonly used to monitor harmful alcohol consumption among high-risk groups, including young people. However, time and space constraints have generated interest for shortened versions. Commonly used variations are the AUDIT-C (three questions) and the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST) (four questions), but their utility in screening young people in non-clinical settings has received little attention.
We examined the performance of established and novel shortened versions of the AUDIT in relation to the full AUDIT-10 in a community-based survey of young people (16–29 years) attending a music festival in Melbourne, Australia (January 2010).
Among those reporting drinking alcohol in the previous 12 months, the following statistics were systematically assessed for all possible combinations of three or four AUDIT items and established AUDIT variations: Cronbach’s alpha (internal consistency), variance explained (R2) and Pearson’s correlation coefficient (concurrent validity). For our purposes, novel shortened AUDIT versions considered were required to represent all three AUDIT domains and include item 9 on alcohol-related injury.
We recruited 640 participants (68% female) reporting drinking in the previous 12 months. Median AUDIT-10 score was 10 in males and 9 in females, and 127 (20%) were classified as having at least high-level alcohol problems according to WHO classification.
The FAST scored consistently high across statistical measures; it explained 85.6% of variance in AUDIT-10, correlation with AUDIT-10 was 0.92, and Cronbach’s alpha was 0.66. A number of novel four-item AUDIT variations scored similarly high. Comparatively, the AUDIT-C scored substantially lower on all measures except internal consistency.
Numerous abbreviated variations of the AUDIT may be a suitable alternative to the AUDIT-10 for classifying high-level alcohol problems in a community-based population of young Australians. Four-item AUDIT variations scored more consistently high across all evaluated statistics compared to three-item combinations. Novel AUDIT versions may be more effective than many established shortened versions as an alternative screening tool to the AUDIT-10 to measure hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption in this population.
PMCID: PMC3691761  PMID: 23556543
Alcohol screening; Alcohol use disorders identification test; AUDIT; Alcohol consumption; Young adult; Adolescents
15.  Problem Drinking among Married Men in India: Comparison between husband’s and wife’s reports 
Drug and alcohol review  2010;29(5):557-562.
Introduction and Aims
This study compared the husband’s report, and wife’s report of her husband’s problem drinking, among residents of an urban slum in Bangalore, India.
Design and Methods
The data come from a feasibility study to prevent HIV infection among at risk women in Bangalore. Household enumeration was carried out (N=509) to choose 100 married men between 18 and 50 years who reported problem drinking (scores 8 and above) on the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). Wives of these married men, considered to be at risk for HIV because of their husband’s hazardous drinking, were subsequently recruited for the study (N=100). Written informed consent was obtained; wives were asked about the drinking history of their husband’s through the AUDIT-WR (Wife’s Report) developed for the present study.
Prevalence of problem drinking in the enumerated sample (N=509) was high (N=186; 37%). The husband’s report and his wife’s report of his problem drinking was concordant (r=0.57–0.75) on eight out of ten items, and the total AUDIT score.
Discussion and Conclusions
The AUDIT-WR is a reliable and culturally relevant measure of husband’s problem drinking. In India, men with problem drinking are hard to reach. Therefore, proxy report of the wife may be useful when the husband is either unavailable or uncooperative for assessment.
PMCID: PMC2951296  PMID: 20887581
Alcohol; AUDIT; HIV; Community Based Prevention; India
16.  Individual and Community Level Risk-Factors for Alcohol Use Disorder among Conflict-Affected Persons in Georgia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98299.
The evidence on alcohol use disorder among conflict-affected civilian populations remains extremely weak, despite a number of potential risk-factors. The aim of this study is to examine patterns of alcohol use disorder among conflict-affected persons in the Republic of Georgia.
A cross-sectional survey of 3600 randomly selected internally displaced persons (IDPs) and former IDPs. Two alcohol use disorder outcomes were measured: (i) having at least hazardous alcohol use (AUDIT score ≥8); (ii) episodic heavy drinking (consuming >60 grams of pure alcohol per drinking session at least once a week). Individual level demographic and socio-economic characteristics were also recorded, including mental disorders. Community level alcohol environment characteristics relating to alcohol availability, marketing and pricing were recorded in the respondents' communities and a factor analysis conducted to produce a summary alcohol environment factor score. Logistic regression analyses examined associations between individual and community level factors with the alcohol use disorder outcomes (among men only).
Of the total sample, 71% of men and 16% of women were current drinkers. Of the current drinkers (N = 1386), 28% of men and 1% of women were classified as having at least hazardous alcohol use; and 12% of men and 2% of women as episodic heavy drinkers. Individual characteristics significantly associated with both outcomes were age and experiencing a serious injury, while cumulative trauma events and depression were also associated with having at least hazardous alcohol use. For the community level analysis, a one unit increase in the alcohol environment factor was associated with a 1.27 fold increase in episodic heavy drinking among men (no significant association with hazardous alcohol use).
The findings suggest potential synergies for treatment responses for alcohol use disorder and depression among conflict-affected populations in Georgia, as well as the need for stronger alcohol control policies in Georgia.
PMCID: PMC4035315  PMID: 24865450
17.  Alcohol-related brief intervention in patients treated for opiate or cocaine dependence: a randomized controlled study 
Despite the importance of heavy drinking and alcohol dependence among patients with opiate and cocaine dependence, few studies have evaluated specific interventions within this group. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of screening with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and of brief intervention (BI) on alcohol use in a sample of patients treated for opioid or cocaine dependence in a specialized outpatient clinic.
Adult outpatients treated for opioid or cocaine dependence in Switzerland were screened for excessive alcohol drinking and dependence with the AUDIT. Patients with AUDIT scores that indicated excessive drinking or dependence were randomized into two groups--treatment as usual or treatment as usual together with BI--and assessed at 3 months and 9 months.
Findings revealed a high rate (44%) of problematic alcohol use (excessive drinking and dependence) among patients with opiate and cocaine dependence. The number of drinks per week decreased significantly between T0 (inclusion) and T3 (month 3). A decrease in average AUDIT scores was observed between T0 and T3 and between T0 and T9 (month 9). No statistically significant difference between treatment groups was observed.
In a substance abuse specialized setting, screening for alcohol use with the AUDIT, followed by feedback on the score, and use of alcohol BI are both possibly useful strategies to induce changes in problematic alcohol use. Definitive conclusions cannot, however, be drawn from the study because of limitations such as lack of a naturalistic group. An important result of the study is the excellent internal consistency of AUDIT in a population treated for opiate or cocaine dependence.
PMCID: PMC3191344  PMID: 21849027
AUDIT; brief intervention; alcohol; methadone; substance abuse
18.  Quality Concerns with Routine Alcohol Screening in VA Clinical Settings 
Alcohol screening questionnaires have typically been validated when self- or researcher-administered. Little is known about the performance of alcohol screening questionnaires administered in clinical settings.
The purpose of this study was to compare the results of alcohol screening conducted as part of routine outpatient clinical care in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System to the results on the same alcohol screening questionnaire completed on a mailed survey within 90 days and identify factors associated with discordant screening results.
Cross sectional.
A national sample of 6,861 VA outpatients (fiscal years 2007–2008) who completed the AUDIT-C alcohol screening questionnaire on mailed surveys (survey screen) within 90 days of having clinical AUDIT-C screening documented in their medical records (clinical screen).
Alcohol screening results were considered discordant if patients screened positive (AUDIT-C ≥ 5) on either the clinical or survey screen but not both. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the prevalence of discordance in different patient subgroups based on demographic and clinical characteristics, VA network and temporal factors (e.g. the order of screens).
Whereas 11.1% (95% CI 10.4-11.9%) of patients screened positive for unhealthy alcohol use on the survey screen, 5.7% (5.1- 6.2%) screened positive on the clinical screen. Of 765 patients who screened positive on the survey screen, 61.2% (57.7-64.6%) had discordant results on the clinical screen, contrasted with 1.5% (1.2-1.8%) of 6096 patients who screened negative on the survey screen. In multivariable analyses, discordance was significantly increased among Black patients compared with White, and among patients who had a positive survey AUDIT-C screen or who received care at 4 of 21 VA networks.
Use of a validated alcohol screening questionnaire does not—by itself—ensure the quality of alcohol screening. This study suggests that the quality of clinical alcohol screening should be monitored, even when well-validated screening questionnaires are used.
PMCID: PMC3043188  PMID: 20859699
alcohol screening; brief alcohol counseling; validation
19.  Utility of the Alcohol Consumption Questions in the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test for Screening At-Risk Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorders among Korean College Students 
Korean Journal of Family Medicine  2013;34(4):272-280.
This study evaluated the utility of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Alcohol Consumption Questions (AUDIT-C) in screening at-risk drinking and alcohol use disorders among Korean college students.
For the 387 students who visited Chungnam National University student health center, drinking state and alcohol use disorders were assessed through diagnostic interviews. In addition, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), AUDIT-C, and cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye-opener (CAGE) were applied. The utility of the questionnaires for the interview results were compared.
The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs) of AUDIT-C for screening at-risk drinking were 0.927 in the male and 0.921 in the female participants. The AUROCs of AUDIT and CAGE were 0.906 and 0.643, respectively, in the male, and 0.898 and 0.657, respectively, in the female participants. The optimal screening scores of at-risk drinking in AUDIT-C were ≥6 in the male and ≥4 in the female participants; and in AUDIT and CAGE, ≥8 and ≥1, respectively, in the male, and ≥5 and ≥1 in the female participants. The AUROCs of AUDIT-C in screening alcohol use disorders were 0.902 in the male and 0.939 in the female participants. In the AUDIT and CAGE, the AUROCs were 0.936 and 0.712, respectively, in the male, and 0.960 and 0.844, respectively, in the female participants. The optimal screening scores of alcohol use disorders in AUDIT-C were ≥7 in the male and ≥6 in the female participants; and in AUDIT and CAGE, ≥10 and ≥1, respectively, in the male, and ≥8 and ≥1 in the female participants.
AUDIT-C is considered useful in screening at-risk drinking and alcohol use disorders among college students.
PMCID: PMC3726795  PMID: 23904957
Universities; Students; Alcohol; Mass Screening
20.  Defining “Binge” Drinking as Five Drinks per Occasion or Drinking to a 0.08% BAC: Which is More Sensitive to Risk? 
Heavy episodic or “binge” drinking is commonly defined as drinking 4–5 drinks per occasion (5/4 definition) or drinking that results in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. The present study compared the validity of each binge definition as an indicator of at-risk, problem drinking. 251 college students were classified as non-binge drinkers or as binge drinkers based on the 5/4 definition or the 0.08% BAC definition. The two definitions of binge drinking were examined in terms of their sensitivity and specificity as indicators of alcohol-related problems as determined by scores on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Over half the sample (56%) were at-risk drinkers according to the AUDIT. The 0.08% definition detected only one-half of these individuals. Gender differences were also evident. Female binge drinkers actually achieved significantly higher estimated BACs per episode than their male binge drinking counterparts. The findings suggest that drinking to a sub-threshold BAC (i.e., < 0.08%) is not sufficient to avoid alcohol-related problems, and that total quantity (i.e., total standard drinks) per occasion might contribute to risk independent of the BAC achieved during drinking episodes. The findings also highlight the importance of considering frequency of consumption in determining risky drinking versus relying solely on quantity measures.
PMCID: PMC3156624  PMID: 21838847
21.  Alcohol Screening Scores and 90 Day Outcomes in Patients with Acute Lung Injury 
Critical care medicine  2013;41(6):1518-1525.
The effects of excess alcohol consumption (alcohol misuse) on outcomes in patients with acute lung injury (ALI) have been inconsistent, and there are no studies examining this association in the era of low tidal volume ventilation and a fluid conservative strategy. We sought to determine whether validated scores on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) that correspond to past year abstinence (zone 1), low-risk drinking (zone 2), mild to moderate alcohol misuse (zone 3), and severe alcohol misuse (zone 4) are associated with poor outcomes in patients with ALI.
Secondary analysis.
The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) network, a consortium of 12 university centers (44 hospitals) dedicated to the conduct of multi-center clinical trials in patients with acute lung injury.
Patients meeting consensus criteria for ALI enrolled in one of three recent ARDS network clinical trials.
Measurements and Main Results
Of 1,133 patients enrolled in one of three ARDS network studies, 1,037 patients had an AUDIT score available for analysis. Alcohol misuse was common with 70 (7%) of patients having AUDIT scores in zone 3 and 129 (12%) patients in zone 4. There was a u-shaped association between validated AUDIT zones and death or persistent hospitalization at 90 days (34% in zone 1, 26% in zone 2, 27% in zone 3, 36% in zone 4; p < 0.05 for comparison of zone 1 to zone 2 and zone 4 to zone 2). In a multiple logistic regression model, there was a significantly higher odds of death or persistent hospitalization in patients in AUDIT zone 4 when compared to those in zone 2 (adjusted OR 1.70; 95% CI 1.00, 2.87; p = 0.048).
Severe, but not mild to moderate alcohol misuse is independently associated with an increased risk of death or persistent hospitalization at 90 days in ALI patients.
PMCID: PMC4048714  PMID: 23538449
alcohol use disorders identification test; acute lung injury; alcohol use disorder; alcohol misuse; unhealthy alcohol use
22.  Optimizing the Use of the AUDIT for Alcohol Screening in College Students 
Psychological assessment  2012;24(4):10.1037/a0028519.
The screening and brief intervention (SBI) modality of treatment for at-risk college drinking is becoming increasingly popular. A key to effective implementation is use of validated screening tools. While the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) has been validated in adult samples and is often used with college students, research has not yet established optimal cut-off scores to screen for at-risk drinking. A total of 401 current drinkers completed computerized assessments of demographics, family history of alcohol use disorders, alcohol use history, alcohol-related problems, and general health. Of the 401 drinkers, 207 met criteria for at-risk drinking. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed that the AUROC of the AUDIT was 0.86 (95% CI = 0.83-0.90). The AUDIT-C (AUROC = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.86--.92) performed significantly better than the AUDIT in the detection of at-risk drinking in the whole sample, and specifically for females. Gender differences emerged in the optimal cut-off scores for the AUDIT-C. A total score of 7 should be used for males and a score of 5 should be used for females. These empirical guidelines may enhance identification of at-risk drinkers in college settings.
PMCID: PMC3869562  PMID: 22612646
alcohol screening; at-risk drinking; gender; college drinking; ROC
23.  Audit of Orthopaedic Audits in an English Teaching Hospital: Are We Closing the Loop? 
Clinical audit is an important tool to improve patient care and outcomes in health service. A significant proportion of time and economic resources are spent on activities related to clinical audit. Completion of audit cycle is essential to confirm the improvements in healthcare delivery. We aimed this study to evaluate audits carried out within trauma and orthopaedic unit of a teaching hospital over the last 4 years, and establish the proportions which were re-audited as per recommendations.
Data was collected from records of the clinical audit department. All orthopaedic audit projects from 2005 to 2009 were included in this study. The projects were divided in to local, regional and national audits. Data regarding audit lead clinicians, completion and presentation of projects, recommendations and re-audits was recorded.
Out of 61 audits commenced during last four years, 19.7% (12) were abandoned, 72.1% (44) were presented and 8.2 % (5) were still ongoing. The audit cycle was completed in only 29% (13) projects.
Change of junior doctors every 4~6 months is related to fewer re-audits. Active involvement by supervising consultant, reallocation of the project after one trainee has finished, and full support of audit department may increase the ratio of completion of audit cycles, thereby improving the patient care.
PMCID: PMC2923339  PMID: 20721318
Audit of audits; orthopaedic audits; quality of care; audit cycle.
24.  Auditing Orthopaedic Audit 
Clinical audit plays an important role in the drive to improve the quality of patient care and thus forms a cornerstone of clinical governance. Assurance that the quality of patient care has improved requires completion of the audit cycle. A considerable sum of money and time has been spent establishing audit activity in the UK. Failure to close the loop undermines the effectiveness of the audit process and wastes resources.
We analysed the effectiveness of audit in trauma and orthopaedics at a local hospital by comparing audit projects completed over a 6-year period to criteria set out in the NHS National Audit and Governance report.
Of the 25 audits performed since 1999, half were presented to the relevant parties and only 20% completed the audit cycle. Only two of these were audits against national standards and 28% were not based on any standards at all. Only a third of the audits led by junior doctors resulted in implementation of their action plan compared to 75% implementation for consultant-led and 67% for nurse-led audits.
A remarkably large proportion of audits included in this analysis failed to meet accepted criteria for effective audit. Audits completed by junior doctors were found to be the least likely to complete the cycle. This may relate to the lack of continuity in modern medical training and little incentive to complete the cycle. Supervision by permanent medical staff, principally consultants, and involvement of the audit department may play the biggest role in improving implementation of change.
PMCID: PMC2727811  PMID: 18828963
Medical audit; Orthopaedics
25.  Drinking habits and prevalence of heavy drinking among occupational healthcare patients 
To estimate the proportion of heavy drinkers among occupational healthcare patients and evaluate their characteristics.
Patients visiting their doctor in six occupational health clinics were asked to complete a questionnaire containing the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and other questions concerning health.
Occupational health services.
A total of 757 patients participated in the study.
Main outcome measure
Heavy drinking was defined as having a score of 10 or more (men) or 8 or more (women) in the AUDIT questionnaire.
Of the men 114 (29%) and of the women 48 (13%) were heavy drinkers. Only smoking differentiated both male and female heavy drinkers from moderate drinkers among the clinically relevant characteristics.
There are a considerable number of heavy drinkers among occupational healthcare patients. Heavy drinkers do not have any particularly specific characteristics except for the drinking that distinguish them from other patients. Thus, screening is necessary to identify heavy drinkers in occupational healthcare settings.
PMCID: PMC3410478  PMID: 19065452
Alcohol; AUDIT; family practice; heavy drinking; occupational health

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