Validation of the alcohol use item banks from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS)

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Apr 1;161:316-22. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.02.014. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Background: The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) includes five item banks for alcohol use. There are limited data, however, regarding their validity (e.g., convergent validity, responsiveness to change). To provide such data, we conducted a prospective study with 225 outpatients being treated for substance abuse.

Methods: Assessments were completed shortly after intake and at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. The alcohol item banks were administered as computerized adaptive tests (CATs). Fourteen CATs and one six-item short form were also administered from eight other PROMIS domains to generate a comprehensive health status profile. After modeling treatment outcome for the sample as a whole, correlates of outcome from the PROMIS health status profile were examined.

Results: For convergent validity, the largest correlation emerged between the PROMIS alcohol use score and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (r=.79 at intake). Regarding treatment outcome, there were modest changes across the target problem of alcohol use and other domains of the PROMIS health status profile. However, significant heterogeneity was found in initial severity of drinking and in rates of change for both abstinence and severity of drinking during follow-up. This heterogeneity was associated with demographic (e.g., gender) and health-profile (e.g., emotional support, social participation) variables.

Conclusions: The results demonstrated the validity of PROMIS CATs, which require only 4-6 items in each domain. This efficiency makes it feasible to use a comprehensive health status profile within the substance use treatment setting, providing important prognostic information regarding abstinence and severity of drinking.

Keywords: Alcohol use; Item response theory; Measurement; PROMIS; Patient-reported outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatients*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome