Validity of the CRAFFT Substance Abuse Screening Test Among Adolescent Clinic Patients | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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June 2002

Validity of the CRAFFT Substance Abuse Screening Test Among Adolescent Clinic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Knight, Shrier, and Harris) and Psychiatry (Dr Chang) and the Division on Addictions (Dr Knight and Mr Sherritt), Harvard Medical School, the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (Drs Knight, Shrier, Harris, and Chang and Mr Sherritt) and the Divisions of General Pediatrics (Dr Knight and Mr Sherritt) and Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine (Drs Shrier and Harris), Children's Hospital Boston, and the Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Dr Chang; Boston, Mass).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(6):607-614. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.6.607

Objective  To determine the accuracy of the CRAFFT substance abuse screening test.

Design  Criterion standard validation study comparing the score on the 6-item CRAFFT test with screening categories determined by a concurrently administered substance-use problem scale and a structured psychiatric diagnostic interview. Screening categories were "any problem" (ie, problem use, abuse, or dependence), "any disorder" (ie, abuse or dependence), and "dependence."

Setting  A large, hospital-based adolescent clinic.

Participants  Patients aged 14 to 18 years arriving for routine health care.

Main Outcome Measures  The CRAFFT receiver operating characteristic curve, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value.

Results  Of the 538 participants, 68.4% were female, and 75.8% were from racial and ethnic minority groups. Diagnostic classifications for substance use during the past 12 months were no use (49.6%), occasional use (23.6%), problem use (10.6%), abuse (9.5%), and dependence (6.7%). Classifications were strongly correlated with the CRAFFT score (Spearman ρ, 0.72; P<.001). A CRAFFT score of 2 or higher was optimal for identifying any problem (sensitivity, 0.76; specificity, 0.94; positive predictive value, 0.83; and negative predictive value, 0.91), any disorder (sensitivity, 0.80; specificity, 0.86; positive predictive value, 0.53; and negative predictive value, 0.96) and dependence (sensitivity, 0.92; specificity, 0.80; positive predictive value, 0.25; and negative predictive value 0.99). Approximately one fourth of participants had a CRAFFT score of 2 or higher. Validity was not significantly affected by age, sex, or race.

Conclusion  The CRAFFT test is a valid means of screening adolescents for substance-related problems and disorders, which may be common in some general clinic populations.