Objective: To examine the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Youth Guide alcohol frequency screening thresholds when applied to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria, and to describe alcohol use patterns and alcohol use disorder (AUD) characteristics in rural youth from primary care settings.
Study design: Adolescents (n = 1193; ages 12 through 20 years) visiting their primary care practitioner for outpatient visits in six rural primary care clinics were assessed prior to their practitioner visit. A tablet computer collected youth self-report of past-year frequency and quantity of alcohol use and DSM-5 AUD symptoms. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were determined.
Results: For early adolescents (ages 12 through 14 years), 1.9% met DSM-5 criteria for past-year AUD and ≥3 days with alcohol use in the past year yielded a screen for DSM-5 with optimal psychometric properties (sensitivity: 89%; specificity: 95%; PPV: 37%; NPV: 100%). For middle adolescents (ages 15 through 17 years), 9.5% met DSM-5 AUD criteria, and ≥3 past year drinking days showed optimal screening results (sensitivity: 91%; specificity: 89%; PPV: 50%; NPV: 99%). For late adolescents (ages 18 through 20 years), 10.0% met DSM-5 AUD criteria, and ≥12 past year drinking days showed optimal screening results (sensitivity: 92%; specificity: 75%; PPV: 31%; NPV: 99%). The age stratified National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism frequency thresholds also produced effective results.
Conclusion: In rural primary care clinics, 10% of youth over age 14 years had a past-year DSM-5 AUD. These at-risk adolescents can be identified with a single question on alcohol use frequency.
Keywords: adolescents; alcohol; screening.
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