Objective: To assess adolescents' preferences for substance abuse screening in primary medical care settings.
Design/methods: Twelve- to 18-year-old patients (N = 2133) arriving for routine care at a network of primary care sites completed an interview that included demographic items, the CRAFFT screen, and a questionnaire assessing preferences for screening method (paper questionnaire, computer, oral interview by nurse or doctor). A subgroup (n = 222) completed the CRAFFT directly on the computer.
Results: Across the entire sample, paper was the screening administration method most preferred (mean rank (MR) = 2.92, 95%CI 2.87-2.96) vs. computer (MR = 2.38, 2.33-2.43), nurse (MR = 2.43, 2.39-2.47), and doctor (MR = 2.30, 2.25-2.35). Among the participants who received the screening on the computer, however, computer (MR = 3.08, 95%CI 2.42-2.52) was statistically tied with paper (MR = 2.88, 2.75-3.02) and both were ranked significantly higher than nurse (MR = 2.06, 1.94-2.17) and doctor (MR = 1.98, 1.82-2.14). The findings were similar for participants' reports of being "very likely" to be honest when answering substance abuse screening questions.
Conclusions: Adolescents should ideally be screened for substance abuse using paper or computer questionnaires.