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The CAGE alcohol screening tool has been touted as a good choice for clinical settings because of its brevity. The authors administered the CAGE and three other alcohol screening instruments (the Short-MAST, AUDIT, and JELLINEK) by microcomputer to 296 clients at a drinking driver treatment program and three of the four scales to a second sample of 270 clients from six drinking driver treatment programs. The average response times for the CAGE were 31 and 32 sec, respectively, in the first and second samples. The average response time for the JELLINEK was approximately five times longer than it was for the CAGE; response time for the AUDIT averaged four times longer and response time for the Short-MAST was two and a half times as long. The estimated reliability of the CAGE was the lowest and its standard error of measurement was the highest of the four scales. The authors recommend the Short-MAST as the tool of choice if the extra minute of administration time it requires in comparison with the CAGE is not critical.

Originally published in: Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, v. 25, no. 2, 1993, pp. 304-307.

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