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Reliability of Self-Reports of Alcohol Use by Community Clients
Thomas O'Hare; Pamela Bennett; Dorothy Leduc
Psychiatric Services 1991; doi:
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South Shore Mental Health Center in Charlestown, Rhode Island

© 1991 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Eighty-five of 116 randomly selected clients receiving case management services at a comprehensive community mental health center responded anonymously to a survey questionnaire that included two measures of self-reported alcohol use: questions about frequency and quantity and a retrospective diary for reporting the number of drinks consumed daily in the preceding week. Forty-two patients reported using alcohol; consumption was higher among younger patients. A significant correlation was found between responses to the frequency-quantity questions and the information provided in the retrospective diary, indicating that self-reports of alcohol consumption are reasonably reliable for the clients studied. Future research is needed to establish the reliability and validity of self-reported alcohol and drug use in typical treatment settings.

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