Screening for Alcohol Use Disorders In College Student Drinkers With the AUDIT and the USAUDIT: A Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve Analysis

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Background: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and its consumption subscale (AUDIT-C) are international gold standard screeners for identifying at-risk drinkers. Items have been modified to reflect United States low-risk drinking guidelines in the USAUDIT and USAUDIT-C, which also perform well in identifying at-risk drinkers. The USAUDIT may also be used to screen for potential AUD, an important first step to identify individuals needing diagnostic testing and treatment referrals.

Objectives: The present study sought to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of each measure in predicting potential AUDs via diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition in a college sample.

Methods: Participants were 382 college student drinkers (Mage = 20.2, SD = 1.5; 68.7% female) who completed online surveys assessing alcohol use, at-risk drinking, and AUD symptom endorsement. Receiver operating curves provide optimal cutoff scores for each measure in overall, male, and female samples.

Results: Results indicated the AUDIT and USAUDIT are equally superior in detecting potential AUD in the current sample. Recommended cutoff scores for detecting likely AUD with the USAUDIT are 12 for males (sensitivity = 62.0%, specificity = 86.6%) and 8 for females (sensitivity = 65.3%, specificity = 87.7%).

Conclusions: Whereas prior work supports the USAUDIT-C in detecting at-risk drinking, the current study supports the AUDIT and USAUDIT in detecting potential AUD. Based on prior work, and in an effort to be consistent with standard US drinking guidelines, we recommend using the USAUDIT in screening and brief interventions across college campuses.

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The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

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