Test Critique: The Alcohol Dependent Scale (Ads)

1197 words - 5 pages

The Symptom Inventory that I reviewed was the Alcohol Dependent Scale (ADS). The ADS was developed by Harvey Skinner and John Horn in 1984. The ADS consists of a 25-item alcohol use questionnaire. The items are multiple choice, easy to read, have from two to four alternatives, and come in a booklet with clear instructions. Test administration is approximately 10 minutes and the ADS can be given to both groups and individuals either as a questionnaire or oral interview. (Piazza pg. 4)

The ADS was derived from the larger more expansive Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI). According to Piazza, “the alcohol use inventory is based on a ‘multidimensional’ conceptualization of alcoholism that includes many different types of styles of alcoholic drinking behaviors. One such type of alcoholic use identified in the AUI was the ADS, which is characterized by impaired control over alcohol consumption, increased tolerance for the effects of alcohol, presence of withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption is discontinued, compulsion to drink excessively, and alcohol-seeking behaviors. The ADS was developed to provide a brief, yet ‘psychometrically sound measure of this syndrome.’” (pg. 4) The intent of the ADS is to not only identify the presence of alcohol dependence but also to provide a brief measure of the extent to which the use of alcohol has progressed from psychological involvement to impaired control. (Piazza, pg. 4-5)

Scoring is based on four separate scales: Loss of behavior control, psychophysical withdrawal symptoms, psychoperceptual withdrawal symptoms, and obsessive-compulsive drinking style. The ADS comes with a user guide which contains all of the necessary information to score and interpret the test. Deysach states, “scoring is based on a 2- or 3- point scale with resulting raw scores ranging from 0-47. The higher scores describe greater reported levels of dependence.” (pg. 2) Although there are several uses for the ADS, it is obvious the greatest use is predicting compliance with abstinence versus controlled drinking goals. Persons scoring in the low to moderate ranges on the ADS would be more likely to accept and comply with controlled0drinking goals and reject treatments based on total abstinence than persons who score in the higher ranges. (Piazza, pg. 5)

When developing the ADS Skinner and Horn realized that the ADS would be used in a variety of treatment settings with individuals who would be exhibiting a varying degree of alcohol dependence. The recognized that no single norm group would be sufficient, so they provided normative data on both outpatient and inpatient groups as well as samples of individuals assigned to both controlled drinking and abstinence-oriented treatment conditions. (Piazza, pg. 5) The samples were taken from admissions to the Clinical Institute of Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto with norms ranging from 70-225. (Deysach, pg. 2)

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