The correspondence between transdermal alcohol monitoring and daily self-reported alcohol consumption

Addict Behav. 2018 Oct;85:147-152. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.06.006. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


Alcohol consumption is typically assessed via self-report methods, though there are concerns over the accuracy of this information. Transdermal alcohol monitoring can passively and continuously measure alcohol consumption with minimal interference in daily life. The current study examines the correspondence between daily self-reported alcohol consumption and transdermal alcohol monitors. Thirty-two healthy men (n = 16) and women (n = 16) wore a transdermal alcohol monitor for 28 days. Participants were instructed to drink as they usually do and prompted daily with a survey link to report yesterday's drinking. Data analyses focused on the following comparisons: (1) the overall correspondence between self-reported drinking and TAC readings; (2) the sensitivity of various TAC criteria thresholds to detect self-reported drinking (TAC thresholds of none, low, moderate, and heavy); and (3) the risks of false positive TAC findings using self-reported drinking as the Gold Standard. Participants self-reported drinking a total of 324 days, of which, TAC events were detected on 212 days (65.4%). When participants self-reported not drinking (399 days), zero TAC was also found on 366 days (92%). The correspondence between self-reported drinking and transdermal concentrations tended to be good: overall, when self-reported drinking was reported, TAC also detected drinking 65.4% of the time.

Keywords: Correspondence; Self-reported alcohol consumption; Transdermal alcohol monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Ethanol / analysis*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Report*
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Sweat / chemistry*
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanol