Assessing current alcohol use with the FORM 90 in a student sample

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Abstract

Objectives

Alcohol use disorders are one of the most common problems among males. A calendar-based instrument for assessing alcohol use, the FORM 90, has been developed and its validity has been tested in clinical samples as an alternative to prospective assessment. Our goal was to examine its validity in a (non-clinical) student sample with and without alcohol-related disorders.

Method

Using the CIDI we interviewed 120 male students and identified individuals with alcohol abuse, alcohol dependency or no substance-related disorder. We compared these groups on a global and a calendar-based measure – the FORM 90 – to see whether both lead to comparable results. CIDI and FORM 90 were completed by independent interviewers.

Results

Overall a global and calendar-based assessment showed comparable results, but differed in the estimated number of days of alcohol consumption. More importantly, looking at the average amount of alcohol consumed at each drinking occasion, the FORM 90 revealed a highly stable alcohol consumption pattern for individuals with alcohol dependence, but a significantly less stable pattern for abusers and individuals without a lifetime-history of alcohol-related problems.

Conclusion

Even in a non-clinical sample, using the FORM 90 can identify differences in drinking patterns in individuals with abuse and dependency who have never been treated for these conditions. This study supports the validity of the FORM 90 and suggests that this instrument might allow the examination of specific associations between drinking pattern and its correlates in such populations.

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