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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, 41 (1), fdy049. e53-e60.

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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
Funders : National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
DOI : 10.1093/pubmed/fdy049
Grant Title : Grants for Applied Research
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Adolescent; Alcohol; Diagnosis; Screening
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 10 Apr 2018 10:02
Last Modified : 02 Aug 2019 11:32

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