Introduction and aims: Primary care physicians need a brief screening instrument to detect risky drinkers. In previous studies, the three first questions of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-C (AUDIT-C) and the third question on heavy episodic drinking alone (AUDIT-3) have been shown to be almost as effective as the whole AUDIT. Also, AUDIT-QF (the first two questions of AUDIT) can be a potential screening instrument. However, the validity of these short questionnaires has not been studied among the occupational health-care patients.
Design and methods: Patients visiting their doctor in six occupational health clinics were asked to fill in a health questionnaire containing AUDIT. All together 759 patients participated in the study. Risky drinking was defined as having scored of≥10 for men or≥8 or more for women in the AUDIT questionnaire. Validity of AUDIT-C, AUDIT-3 and AUDIT-QF were compared against the whole AUDIT.
Results: Based on the whole AUDIT, 92 (24%) of the men and 33 (9%) of the women were risky drinkers. For men and women, area under the curve was relatively high for all tested questionnaires. For AUDIT-C, the best combination of sensitivity and specificity was yielded at cut-off point of 6 for men and 4 for women.
Discussion and conclusion: Short questionnaires perform almost as well as the whole AUDIT screening risky drinking among men and women. This is why they can be recommended for clinical use in busy settings. The cut-off points, however, have to be tailored for gender and culture.