An Improved Diagnostic Evaluation Instrument for Substance Abuse Patients: The Addiction Severity Index

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Abstract

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is a structured clinical interview developed to fill the need for a reliable, valid, and standardized diagnostic and evaluative instrument in the field of alcohol and drug abuse. The ASI may be administered by a technician in 20 to 30 minutes producing 10-point problem severity ratings in each of six areas commonly affected by addiction. Analyses of these problem severity ratings on 524 male veteran alcoholics and drug addicts showed them to be highly reliable and valid. Correlational analyses using the severity ratings indicated considerable independence between the problem areas, suggesting that the treatment problems of patients are not necessarily related to the severity of their chemical abuse. Cluster analyses using these ratings revealed the presence of six subgroups having distinctly different patterns of treatment problems. The authors suggest the use of the ASI to match patients with treatments and to promote greater comparability of research findings.

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