Evaluation of the psychometric properties of self-reported measures of alcohol consumption: a COSMIN systematic review

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Purpose: To review studies about the reliability and validity of self-reported alcohol consumption measures among adults, an area which needs updating to reflect current research. Methods: Databases (PUBMED (1966-present), MEDLINE (1946-present), EMBASE (1947-present), Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) (1937-present), PsycINFO (1887-present) and Social Science Citation Index (1976- present)) were searched systematically for studies from inception to 11th August 2017. Pairs of independent reviewers screened study titles, abstracts and full texts with high agreement and a third author resolved disagreements. A comprehensive quality assessment was conducted of the reported psychometric properties of measures of alcohol consumption using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) to derive ratings of poor, fair, good or excellent for each checklist item relating to each psychometric property. Results: Twenty-eight studies met inclusion criteria and, collectively, they investigated twenty-one short-term recall measures, fourteen quantity-frequency measures and eleven graduated-frequency measures. All measures demonstrated adequate/good test-retest reliability and convergent validity. Quantity-frequency measures demonstrated adequate/good criterion validity; graduated-frequency and short-term recall measures demonstrated adequate/good divergent validity. Quantity-frequency measures and short-term recall measures demonstrated adequate/good hypothesis validity; short-term recall measures demonstrated adequate construct validity. Methodological quality varied within and between studies. Conclusions: It was difficult to discern conclusively which measure was the most reliable and valid given that no study assessed all psychometric properties and the included studies varied in the psychometric properties that they selected to assess. However, when the results from the range of studies were considered and summed, they tended to indicate that the quantity-frequency measure compared to the other two measures performed best in psychometric terms and, therefore, it is likely to produce the most reliable and valid assessment of alcohol consumption in population surveys. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalSubstance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 02 Feb 2018


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