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An Examination of the Utility of the AUDIT in People with Schizophrenia
Sharon Dawe, Anita Seinen, David Kavanagh
Objective: To examine the reliability and validity of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) compared to a structured diagnostic interview, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI; 12-month version) in psychiatric patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Method: Patients (N = 71, 53 men) were interviewed using the CIDI (Alcohol Misuse Section; 12-month version) and then completed the AUDIT. Results: The CIDI identified 32.4% of the sample as having an alcohol use disorder. Of these, 5 (7.0%) met diagnostic criteria for harmful use of alcohol, 1 (1.4%) met diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and 17 (23.9%) met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence. The AUDIT was found to have good internal reliability (coefficient = 0.85). An AUDIT cutoff of ≥ 8 had a sensitivity of 87% and specificity of 90% in detecting CIDI-diagnosed alcohol disorders. All items except Item 9 contributed significantly to discriminant validity. Conclusions: The findings replicate and extend previous findings of high rates of alcohol use disorders in people with severe mental illness. The AUDIT was found to be reliable and valid in this sample and can be used with confidence as a screening instrument for alcohol use disorders in people with schizophrenia. (J. Stud. Alcohol 61: 744-750, 2000)