Background: This study compared six of the briefest screening instruments for detecting DSM-IV-defined Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) among older adolescents treated in Emergency Departments (ED).
Methods: The AUDIT-C, the RAPS4-QF, the FAST, the CRAFFT, the RUFT-Cut, and 2-Items from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV of the American Psychiatric Association [American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, (1994) (DSM-IV). 4th ed. Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Association] criteria for AUD (heretofore referred to as the DSM-IV 2-Item Scale) were evaluated against the criterion of a current DSM-IV diagnosis of either alcohol abuse or dependence. The instruments were administered to 181 alcohol-using older adolescents (57% males; age range 18-20 years) in an ED and compared using Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) analyses against the criterion of a current DSM-IV diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence.
Results: Of these instruments, the DSM-IV 2-Item Scale performed best for identifying AUD (88% sensitivity and 90% specificity), followed by the FAST and the AUDIT-C.
Conclusions: Two items from the DSM-IV criteria for AUD performed best for identifying ED-treated older adolescents with alcohol use disorders. The FAST and AUDIT-C performed well, but are longer and more difficult to score in the hectic environment of the Emergency Department.