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Predictive validity, diagnostic accuracy and test-retest reliability of the strength of urges to drink (SUTD) scale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Emma Beard, Jamie Brown, Robert West, Colin Drummond, Eileen Kaner, Susan Michie

Original languageEnglish
Article number3714
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

King's Authors


This study compared the 1-item Strength of Urges to Drink (SUTD) scale with the 10-item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) on (i) test-retest reliability, (ii) predictive validity, and (iii) diagnostic accuracy. Data come from 2960 participants taking part in the Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS), a monthly population survey of adults in England. The long-term test-retest reliability of the SUTD was ‘fair’, but lower than that for the AUDIT (Kappaweighted 0.24 versus 0.49). Individuals with “slight/moderate” urges to drink had higher odds of reporting an attempt to cut down relative to those not experiencing urges (adjusted odds ratios (AdjORs) 1.78 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.43–2.22 and 1.54 95% CI 1.20–1.96). Drinkers reporting “moderate/slight/strong” urges to drink had mean change in consumption scores which were 0.16 (95% CI −0.31 to −0.02), 0.40 (95% CI −0.56 to −0.24) and 0.37 (95% CI −0.69 to −0.05) units lower than those reporting no urges. For all outcomes, strong associations were found with AUDIT scores. The accuracy of the SUTD for discriminating between drinkers who did and did not reduce their consumption was ‘acceptable’, and similar to that for the AUDIT (ROCAUC 0.6). The AUDIT had better diagnostic accuracy in predicting change in alcohol consumption. The SUTD may be an efficient dynamic measure of urges to drink for population surveys and studies assessing the impact of alcohol-reduction interventions.

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