screening for alcohol

Topics: Drinking culture, Alcoholism, Alcoholic beverage Pages: 20 (7565 words) Published: February 17, 2015
Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 21:273–291, 2012 Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1067-828X print=1547-0652 online
DOI: 10.1080/1067828X.2012.700851

Screening for Alcohol Risk in Predominantly
Hispanic Youths: Positive Rates and
Behavioral Consequences
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

The present study examined relationships between CAGE alcohol risk scores and predisposing factors for alcohol use, current alcohol use, and behavioral consequences in a large sample of secondary students. Students completed the CAGE, measures of demographics, potential predisposing factors, and consequences of alcohol use. More than 18 % of students screened positive for potential alcohol risk using traditional CAGE criteria, and another 23 % scored moderate risk using a more liberal criterion. CAGE scores were related to a variety of predisposing factors and were strongly related to current drinking and alcohol-related behavioral consequences. It was recommended that investigators examine multiple options for appropriate alcohol screening instruments.

KEYWORDS alcohol, CAGE, Hispanic, youth

The project was supported by two grants from the Center for Border Health Research (Paso del Norte Health Foundation of El Paso, Texas) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (TI 11715).

Address correspondence to Joe Tomaka, Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, 500 W. University Avenue, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA. E-mail:



J. Tomaka et al.

Alcohol abuse among youths remains a public health concern. Indeed, surveys indicate more than 131.3 million Americans ages 12 and older use alcohol (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011). Alcohol use and abuse among secondary school students is widespread, with about 30% to 45% of all secondary school students (Chen, Yi, Williams, & Faden, 2009) and 43% of all seniors (Monitoring the Future, 2008) having reported alcohol use within the past 30 days. Even higher rates have been reported in a predominantly Hispanic sample whereby 84% of secondary school students from all grade levels reported consuming alcohol at least once during the past 30 days (McKinnon, O’Rourke, Thompson, & Berumen, 2004).

Although college-based intervention programs have successfully used screening instruments to determine eligibility for intervention programs, the present investigation examined if such screening procedures generalize to secondary school samples. Specifically, the present study was conducted to examine the validity of the CAGE in a high school sample by assessing the relationship between CAGE risk scores and multiple factors associated with alcohol use in high school (i.e., predisposing factors, current drinking behaviors, alcohol-related behavioral consequences).

Heavy alcohol consumption, or ‘‘binge drinking,’’ is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks in one sitting for men; four or more drinks for women (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA], 2002). Estimates of binge drinking in secondary school vary. For example, Chen and colleagues (2009) found that 18% of males and 15% of females ages 16 to 17 years reported binge drinking during the past 30 days. These numbers rise to 41% and 30%, respectively, for men and women ages 18 to 20 years. In a sample of secondary school students along the border between the United States and Mexico, McKinnon and colleagues (2004) found 44% of secondary school students reported binge drinking over the same time period. These rates were higher than state (i.e., Texas) and national averages (31% and 30%, respectively).

Alcohol use by...

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