Contrasting Self‐Report Screens for Alcohol Problems: A Review

Stephen A. Maisto, Gerard J. Connors, John P. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Current trends in conceptions of alcohol problems and provision of health care put increased emphasis on identifying individuals whose alcohol use and problems cover a range of severity. The purpose of this study is to begin to provide information on the relative utility of self‐report measures designed to identify (screen for) individuals with alcohol problems. To achieve this goal, the empirical literature on contrasts of self‐report screening measures was reviewed, and 13 relevant studies across diverse settings and subject populations were identified. The review showed that the CAGE, the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST), and the short MAST (sMAST) have been the most widely studied self‐report instruments to screen for alcohol problems. Direct comparisons show the MAST to be more sensitive than the CAGE, but with elderly patients the CAGE may perform better than the MAST. Furthermore, available data suggest that the CAGE and the sMAST perform comparably. Finally, the CAGE, MAST, and sMAST all perform best when predicting criteria most similar to those the instruments were designed to reflect. The study concludes with a discussion of priorities for research on screening instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1510-1516
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • Alcohol Problems
  • Contrast Studies
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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