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Opportunistic screening for alcohol use problems in adolescents attending emergency departments: an evaluation of screening tools

Coulton, S, Fasihul Alam, M, Boniface, S, Deluca, P, Donoghue, K, Gilvarry, E, Kaner, E, Lynch, E, Maconochie, I, McArdle, P , McGovern, R, Newbury-Birch, D, Patton, Bob, Phillips, C, Phillips, T, Rose, H, Russell, I, Strang, J and Drummond, C (2018) Opportunistic screening for alcohol use problems in adolescents attending emergency departments: an evaluation of screening tools Journal of Public Health.

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To estimate and compare the optimal cut-off score of Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and AUDIT-C in identifying at-risk alcohol consumption, heavy episodic alcohol use, ICD-10 alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in adolescents attending ED in England.


Opportunistic cross-sectional survey.


10 emergency departments across England.


Adolescents (n = 5377) aged between their 10th and 18th birthday who attended emergency departments between December 2012 and May 2013.


Scores on the AUDIT and AUDIT-C. At-risk alcohol consumption and monthly episodic alcohol consumption in the past 3 months were derived using the time-line follow back method. Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence was assessed in accordance with ICD-10 criteria using the MINI-KID.


AUDIT-C with a score of 3 was more effective for at-risk alcohol use (AUC 0.81; sensitivity 87%, specificity 97%), heavy episodic use (0.84; 76%, 98%) and alcohol abuse (0.98; 91%, 90%). AUDIT with a score of 7 was more effective in identifying alcohol dependence (0.92; 96%, 94%).


The 3-item AUDIT-C is more effective than AUDIT in screening adolescents for at-risk alcohol use, heavy episodic alcohol use and alcohol abuse. AUDIT is more effective than AUDIT-C for the identification of alcohol dependence.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Coulton, S
Fasihul Alam, M
Boniface, S
Deluca, P
Donoghue, K
Gilvarry, E
Kaner, E
Lynch, E
Maconochie, I
McArdle, P
McGovern, R
Newbury-Birch, D
Phillips, C
Phillips, T
Rose, H
Russell, I
Strang, J
Drummond, C
Date : 26 March 2018
Identification Number : 10.1093/pubmed/fdy049
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Uncontrolled Keywords : adolescent, alcohol, diagnosis, screening
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 10 Apr 2018 10:02
Last Modified : 13 Apr 2018 10:19

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