Limitations of lifetime alcohol use disorder assessments: A criterion-validation study

Angela M. Haeny, Andrew K. Littlefield, Kenneth J. Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The goal of the present study was to compare etiologically and clinically relevant correlates of lifetime AUD (e.g., alcohol consumption, personality traits, psychiatric disorders) based on a single assessment compared to a cumulative, prospective assessment of lifetime AUD. Data were drawn from the Alcohol, Health and Behavior (AHB; baseline N = 489) study, which consisted of a prospective cohort of college students assessed seven times over a 16-year period ([M(SD) age at baseline = 18.56 (97)] and [M(SD) age at final assessment = 34.33 (82)]). The participants were assessed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) for DSM-III at Waves 1-7 and for DSM-IV at Waves 6-7. A single assessment and cumulative assessments of DSM-III lifetime AUD at Wave 6 (M[SD] age = 28.98 [1.03]) were used to predict past-year alcohol related variables (e.g., alcohol consumption, drinking motives, drinking expectancies), personality variables, general functioning, lifetime substance use, and lifetime psychiatric disorders at Wave 7. Significantly larger correlations were found between the cumulative assessment and eight of the 25 etiologically relevant correlates of AUD compared to the single assessment. Further, significant incremental validity of cumulative assessment over single, retrospective assessment was observed for 16 of the 25 covariates. Overall, this study provides further support for the value of using prospective data with multiple assessments when determining lifetime history of disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Lifetime alcohol use disorder
  • Prospective assessment
  • Reliability
  • Validity


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