Development of the alcohol use discrepancy instrument (AUDI): An instrument for measuring a purported mechanism of behavior change underlying self-regulation theory

Christine M. Davis, Patrick R. Clifford, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Self-regulation theory (SRT) posits that individuals make decisions regarding behavior change based on a comparison of their actual (e.g., excessive alcohol use) and desired (e.g., abstinence) behaviors. This comparison must result in a discrepancy of sufficient magnitude to motivate an individual toward behavior change. It appears that this purported mechanism of behavior change (MOBC) has not been tested with regards to alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment. Furthermore, there seems to be no psychometrically sound instrument for assessing such discrepancies in a clinical sample. The purpose of this study was to establish the psychometric properties of an instrument developed to assess actual versus desired alcohol use discrepancies that could be used to test this purported MOBC underlying SRT. The Alcohol Use Discrepancy Instrument (AUDI) was administered to 235 individuals participating in the Clifford et al. (2007) alcohol treatment outcome study that centered on research assessment exposure reactivity effects. Principal axis factor analysis yielded a unidimensional construct (Cronbach's α = 0.80). Baseline and six-month AUDI scores were correlated with concurrent alcohol use (proportion days abstinent, drinks per drinking day, and proportion heavy days, p <.01) in expected directions. Parallel process models provided further evidence of the AUDI's construct validity, as well as its potential as a measure of discrepancy as a MOBC. The AUDI has good psychometric properties and is likely to prove useful for assessing discrepancies between actual and desired alcohol use behavior, which, according to the principles of SRT, is essential for behavior change and maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106333
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jul 2020



  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Psychometric testing
  • Self-regulation theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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