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An item response theory modeling of alcohol and marijuana dependences: a National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network study.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine psychometric properties of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), diagnostics criteria for alcohol and marijuana dependences among 462 alcohol users and 311 marijuana users enrolled in two multisite trials of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network. METHOD: Diagnostic questions were assessed by the DSM-IV checklist. Data were analyzed by the item response theory and the multiple indicators-multiple causes method procedures. RESULTS: Criterion symptoms of alcohol and marijuana dependences exhibited a high level of internal consistency. All individual symptoms showed good discrimination in distinguishing alcohol or marijuana users between high and low severity levels of the continuum. In both groups, "withdrawal" appeared to measure the most severe symptom of the dependence continuum. There was little evidence of measurement nonequivalence in assessing symptoms of dependence by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and educational level. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the clinical utility of the DSM-IV checklist in assessing alcohol- and marijuana dependence syndromes among treatment-seeking substance users.

Pubmed ID: 19371493


  • Wu LT
  • Pan JJ
  • Blazer DG
  • Tai B
  • Stitzer ML
  • Brooner RK
  • Woody GE
  • Patkar AA
  • Blaine JD


Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs

Publication Data

May 17, 2009

Associated Grants

  • Agency: PHS HHS, Id: HHSN271200522071C

Mesh Terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcoholism
  • Bias (Epidemiology)
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse
  • Models, Psychological
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome