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NIAAA Two-Question Alcohol Screen Valid in Pediatric ERs

HealthDay News

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) two-question alcohol screen is valid for use within pediatric emergency departments (PEDs), according to a study published online Nov. 29 in Pediatrics.

Anthony Spirito, Ph.D., from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues examined the psychometric properties of the NIAAA two-question alcohol screen within U.S. PEDs. Participants included 4,838 12- to 17-year-olds treated in one of 16 participating PEDs. The NIAAA two-question screen was readministered one week later to 186 participants to assess test-retest reliability.

The researchers found that there was moderate to good test-retest reliability. The best combined sensitivity and specificity for determining a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder (AUD) was a classification of moderate risk or higher on the screen. Among middle school students, any past-year drinking increased the odds of a diagnosis of an AUD; the optimal cut-off for high school ages was three or more drinking days in the past year. For determining a positive Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score, the optimal cutoff was one or more drinking days for middle school subjects and two or more drinking days for high school students.

"The NIAAA two-question screen is a brief, valid approach for alcohol screening in PEDs," the authors write. "A positive screen suggests that referral for further evaluation is indicated to determine if an adolescent has an AUD."

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