Screening for substance abuse among adolescents validity of the CAGE-AID in youth mental health care

Subst Use Misuse. 2009;44(6):823-34. doi: 10.1080/10826080802484264.


Objective: To examine the diagnostic accuracy of the four-item self-report and parent-report versions of the CAGE-AID as a screen for substance-use disorders (SUD) among adolescents in mental health care.

Method: Patients were 190 Dutch treatment-seeking adolescents (12-18 years old, mean age 15.5 years, 53% boys) and their parents who completed the CAGE-AID questionnaire during intake. DSM-IV clinical diagnoses were used as gold standard in receiver operating characteristic analyses to determine psychometric properties.

Results: Psychometric properties for both the self-report and the parent-report versions showed the CAGE-AID's excellent diagnostic accuracy in predicting SUD.

Conclusions: The CAGE-AID seems to be a brief and valid instrument for detecting SUD among adolescents in mental health care. However, denial may play a role in both the CAGE-AID and the clinical interviews. More research is needed to further establish the CAGE-AID's usefulness in other settings. The study's limitations have been noted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Netherlands
  • Psychometrics
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*