Validation of a brief screening tool for alcohol-related neuropsychological impairments

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 Nov;39(11):2249-60. doi: 10.1111/acer.12888.


Background: Alcohol-related neuropsychological impairments mainly affect episodic memory, working memory, and visuospatial abilities, as well as executive and motor functioning. These impairments can prevent alcoholic patients (ALs) early in abstinence from benefiting fully from treatment and reduce their ability to remain abstinent. A neuropsychological assessment seems essential for making the relevant clinical decisions. However, very few alcohol treatment departments have the financial and human resources needed to conduct an extensive neuropsychological examination of each AL. The goal of this study was therefore to assess the validity and the psychometric properties of the Brief Evaluation of Alcohol-Related Neuropsychological Impairments (BEARNI), a new screening tool especially designed to assess alcohol-related neuropsychological impairments.

Methods: A total of 254 healthy controls (HCs) completed the BEARNI, and 58 of them also performed an extensive neuropsychological battery. Seventy-three ALs underwent both the BEARNI and the neuropsychological battery. This extensive neuropsychological battery of proven classification accuracy served as the reference (i.e., gold standard) for determining the ALs' cognitive status.

Results: An exploratory factor analysis validated the BEARNI's underlying structure, highlighting 5 factors that reflected visuospatial abilities, executive functions, ataxia, verbal episodic memory, and verbal working memory. The standardization of each BEARNI subtest and the 2 total scores revealed that this test has sufficient diagnostic accuracy for the detection of ALs with cognitive and motor impairments.

Conclusions: This study indicates that the BEARNI is a useful screening tool in clinical settings for detecting ALs' motor and cognitive impairments.

Keywords: Alcoholism; Brief Cognitive Screening Tool; Exploratory Factor Analysis; Neuropsychological Impairment; ROC Curve.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*