Validity of the CRAFFT substance abuse screening test among adolescent clinic patients

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Jun;156(6):607-14. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.156.6.607.


Objective: To determine the accuracy of the CRAFFT substance abuse screening test.

Design: Criterion standard validation study comparing the score on the 6-item CRAFFT test with screening categories determined by a concurrently administered substance-use problem scale and a structured psychiatric diagnostic interview. Screening categories were "any problem" (ie, problem use, abuse, or dependence), "any disorder" (ie, abuse or dependence), and "dependence."

Setting: A large, hospital-based adolescent clinic.

Participants: Patients aged 14 to 18 years arriving for routine health care.

Main outcome measures: The CRAFFT receiver operating characteristic curve, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value.

Results: Of the 538 participants, 68.4% were female, and 75.8% were from racial and ethnic minority groups. Diagnostic classifications for substance use during the past 12 months were no use (49.6%), occasional use (23.6%), problem use (10.6%), abuse (9.5%), and dependence (6.7%). Classifications were strongly correlated with the CRAFFT score (Spearman rho, 0.72; P<.001). A CRAFFT score of 2 or higher was optimal for identifying any problem (sensitivity, 0.76; specificity, 0.94; positive predictive value, 0.83; and negative predictive value, 0.91), any disorder (sensitivity, 0.80; specificity, 0.86; positive predictive value, 0.53; and negative predictive value, 0.96) and dependence (sensitivity, 0.92; specificity, 0.80; positive predictive value, 0.25; and negative predictive value 0.99). Approximately one fourth of participants had a CRAFFT score of 2 or higher. Validity was not significantly affected by age, sex, or race.

Conclusion: The CRAFFT test is a valid means of screening adolescents for substance-related problems and disorders, which may be common in some general clinic populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / classification
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*