The use of alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) in detecting alcohol use disorder and risk drinking in the general population: validation of AUDIT using schedules for clinical assessment in neuropsychiatry

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 Jan;39(1):158-65. doi: 10.1111/acer.12593.


Background: The alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) and AUDIT-Consumption (AUDIT-C) are commonly used in population surveys but there are few validations studies in the general population. Validity should be estimated in samples close to the targeted population and setting. This study aims to validate AUDIT and AUDIT-C in a general population sample (PART) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Methods: We used a general population subsample age 20 to 64 that answered a postal questionnaire including AUDIT who later participated in a psychiatric interview (n = 1,093). Interviews using Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry was used as criterion standard. Diagnoses were set according to the fourth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Agreement between the diagnostic test and criterion standard was measured with area under the receiver operator characteristics curve (AUC).

Results: A total of 1,086 (450 men and 636 women) of the interview participants completed AUDIT. There were 96 individuals with DSM-IV-alcohol dependence, 36 DSM-IV-Alcohol Abuse, and 153 Risk drinkers. AUCs were for DSM-IV-alcohol use disorder 0.90 (AUDIT-C 0.85); DSM-IV-dependence 0.94 (AUDIT-C 0.89); risk drinking 0.80 (AUDIT-C 0.80); and any criterion 0.87 (AUDIT-C 0.84).

Conclusions: In this general population sample, AUDIT and AUDIT-C performed outstanding or excellent in identifying dependency, risk drinking, alcohol use disorder, any disorder, or risk drinking.

Keywords: Alcohol Use Disorder; Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test; Dependence; Sensitivity and Specificity; Validity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychiatry / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests*
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult