Addiction sciences and its psychometrics: the measurement of alcohol-related problems

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AimsThe focus of this paper is on psychometric issues related to the measurement of alcohol problems.MethodsTaking a broad perspective, this paper first examines several issues around the use of instruments to provide diagnostic categories in surveys, including dimensionality, severity and alcohol consumption. Secondly, a discussion of some of the political issues surrounding measurement of alcohol problems is presented, including some of the conflicts that arise when the psychometric properties of commonly used instruments are questioned. Finally, newer statistical techniques that can be applied to scale development in the alcohol field are examined, including non-linear multivariate analyses and confirmatory/hypothesis-based methods.Results and conclusionsContinued scholarly discussion needs to be encouraged around these psychometric issues so that instrument development and maintenance in the addiction sciences becomes an ongoing academic pursuit as we strive to measure alcohol problems in the best way possible.

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