Suitability of the PROMIS alcohol use short form for screening in a HIV clinical care setting

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Jul 1:164:113-119. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.04.038. Epub 2016 May 9.


Background: At-risk alcohol use is important to identify in clinical settings to facilitate interventions. The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Alcohol Use Short Form was developed through an item response theory process, but its utility as a screening instrument in clinical care has not been reported.

Objective: To determine the ability of the PROMIS Alcohol Use Short Form to identify people with current or future at-risk alcohol use defined by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test consumption (AUDIT-C) instrument.

Methods: Observational study of people living with HIV (PLWH) in clinical care at four sites across the US. Patients completed a tablet-based clinical assessment prior to seeing their providers at clinic appointments. We used 3 definitions of clinically-relevant at-risk alcohol use and determined the proportion of PLWH with current or future at-risk drinking identified by the PROMIS instrument.

Results: Of 2497 PLWH who endorsed ≥1 drink in the prior 12 months, 1500 PLWH (60%) endorsed "never" for all PROMIS items. In that group, 26% had clinically-relevant at-risk alcohol use defined by one or more AUDIT-C definitions. At follow-up (N=1608), high baseline PROMIS scores had 55% sensitivity for at-risk drinking among those with at-risk drinking at baseline, and 22% sensitivity among those without baseline risk.

Conclusions: The PROMIS Alcohol Use Short Form cannot be used alone to identify PLWH with clinically-relevant at-risk alcohol use. Optimal assessment of problem drinking behavior is not clear, but there does not seem to be an important role for the PROMIS instrument in this clinical setting.

Keywords: At-risk alcohol use; Clinical care; HIV; Patient-reported outcomes; Screening.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*