Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test

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The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a ten-question test developed by a World Health Organization-sponsored collaborative project to determine if a person may be at risk for alcohol abuse problems.[1][2] The test was designed to be used internationally, and was validated in a study drawing patients from six countries. Several research studies have found that the AUDIT screening tool is a reliable and valid measure in identifying alcohol abuse problem behaviors.[1][3] There is some evidence that the AUDIT works in adolescents and young adults; it appears less accurate in older adults. It appears well-suited for use with college students, and also with women and members of minority groups.[4] The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C) is a 3-question screening test for problem drinking which can be used in a doctor's office.[5]


Research studies have found a correlation between an increase in alcohol-related problems and an increase in the total score of the AUDIT. The AUDIT has also been found to be a valid indicator for severity of alcohol dependence, potentially expanding its utility beyond screening to also help with treatment planning.[6] In a systematic review of screening tools for alcohol problems, the AUDIT was found to be the "most effective in identifying subjects with at-risk, hazardous, or harmful drinking" but less effective than the CAGE at detecting alcohol abuse and dependence.[7] Research has also shown that the AUDIT's items are both reliable and highly responsive to change.[8] Sensitivity and specificity for the AUDIT has been found to be high.[2][9]

Question breakdown, scoring and interpretation[edit]

Scoring the AUDIT is based on a 0-4 point scale. Six of the ten questions ask about the frequency of certain alcohol abuse behaviors and are scored by the following responses:

  • 0 points: "Never"
  • 1 point: "Less than monthly"
  • 2 points: "Monthly"
  • 3 points: "Weekly"
  • 4 points: "Daily, or almost daily"

The other four questions vary in participant response choice but are scored on a 0-4 point scale.

Domain breakdown[edit]

The questions measure different domains of alcohol consumption problems. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 1-3: Measure frequency in alcohol consumption
  • 4-6: Measure alcohol dependence
  • 7-10: Measure alcohol related problems

Interpretation of scores[edit]

In order to score the AUDIT, point values of each answer choice are summed together and then interpreted based on the following criteria.[1]

  • A score of 8 or more in men (7 in women) indicates a strong likelihood of hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption.
  • A score of 20 or more is suggestive of alcohol dependence (although some authors quote scores of more than 13 in women and 15 in men as indicating likely dependence).[10]

See also[edit]


The sequence of the AUDIT items has shown to have influenced the client’s report of their drinking patterns and symptoms of alcohol use disorders.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Bohn, MJ; Babor, TF; Kranzler, HR (July 1995). "The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): validation of a screening instrument for use in medical settings.". Journal of studies on alcohol. 56 (4): 423–32. doi:10.15288/jsa.1995.56.423. PMID 7674678. 
  2. ^ a b Kitchens, JM (14 December 1994). "Does this patient have an alcohol problem?". JAMA. 272 (22): 1782–7. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520220076034. PMID 7966928. 
  3. ^ Daeppen, JB; Yersin, B; Landry, U; Pécoud, A; Decrey, H (May 2000). "Reliability and validity of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) imbedded within a general health risk screening questionnaire: results of a survey in 332 primary care patients.". Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 24 (5): 659–65. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2000.tb02037.x. PMID 10832907. 
  4. ^ "Screening for alcohol use and alcohol related problems". NIAAA Publications. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Bush, K; Kivlahan, DR; McDonell, MB; Fihn, SD; Bradley, KA (14 September 1998). "The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C): an effective brief screening test for problem drinking. Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.". Archives of Internal Medicine. 158 (16): 1789–95. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.16.1789. PMID 9738608. 
  6. ^ Donovan, DM; Kivlahan, DR; Doyle, SR; Longabaugh, R; Greenfield, SF (December 2006). "Concurrent validity of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and AUDIT zones in defining levels of severity among out-patients with alcohol dependence in the COMBINE study.". Addiction (Abingdon, England). 101 (12): 1696–704. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01606.x. PMID 17156168. 
  7. ^ Fiellin, DA; Reid, MC; O'Connor, PG (10 July 2000). "Screening for alcohol problems in primary care: a systematic review.". Archives of Internal Medicine. 160 (13): 1977–89. doi:10.1001/archinte.160.13.1977. PMID 10888972. 
  8. ^ Bradley, KA; McDonell, MB; Bush, K; Kivlahan, DR; Diehr, P; Fihn, SD (November 1998). "The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions: reliability, validity, and responsiveness to change in older male primary care patients.". Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 22 (8): 1842–9. doi:10.1097/00000374-199811000-00034. PMID 9835306. 
  9. ^ Saunders, JB; Aasland, OG; Babor, TF; de la Fuente, JR; Grant, M (June 1993). "Development of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): WHO Collaborative Project on Early Detection of Persons with Harmful Alcohol Consumption--II.". Addiction (Abingdon, England). 88 (6): 791–804. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1993.tb02093.x. PMID 8329970. 
  10. ^ AUDIT: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: Guidelines for Use in Primary Care, second edition, by Thomas F. Babor, John C. Higgins-Biddle, John B. Saunders, and Maristela G. Monteiro. Retrieved June 24, 2006.
  11. ^ Bischof, G (2005). "Effects of item sequence on the performance of the AUDIT in general practices". Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 79 (3): 373–377. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.03.002. PMID 16102379. 

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