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The Important People instrument (IP; Longabaugh et al., 2010) is one of the most commonly used measures of social network drinking. Although its reliability and validity are well-supported, the length of the instrument may limit its use in many settings. The present study evaluated whether a briefer, 5-person version of the IP (IP-5) adequately reproduces scores from the full IP. College freshmen (N = 1,053) reported their own past-month drinking, alcohol-related consequences, and information about drinking in their close social networks at baseline and 1 year later. From this we derived network members’ drinking frequency, percentage of drinkers, and percentage of heavy drinkers, assessed for up to 10 (full IP) or 5 (IP-5) network members. We first modeled the expected concordance between full-IP scores and scores from simulated shorter IP instruments by sampling smaller subsets of network members from full IP data. Then, using quasi-experimental methods, we administered the full IP and IP-5 and compared the 2 instruments’ score distributions and concurrent and year-lagged associations with participants’ alcohol consumption and consequences. Most of the full-IP variance was reproduced from simulated shorter versions of the IP (ICCs ≥ 0.80). The full IP and IP-5 yielded similar score distributions, concurrent associations with drinking (r = 0.22 to 0.52), and year-lagged associations with drinking. The IP-5 retains most of the information about social network drinking from the full IP. The shorter instrument may be useful in clinical and research settings that require frequent measure administration, yielding greater temporal resolution for monitoring social network drinking.