James Van Wert Revised by Frederick K Grittner

MICHIGAN ALCOHOLISM SCREENING TEST (MAST) This is a brief self-report questionnaire designed to detect ALCOHOLISM (Selzer, 1971). It is widely used in clinical and research settings. The twenty-four scored items assess symptoms and consequences of ALCOHOL abuse, such as guilt about drinking; blackouts; DELIRIUM TREMENS; loss of control; family, social, employment, and legal problems following drinking bouts; and help-seeking behaviors, such as attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or entering a hospital because of drinking. Several shorter versions of the MAST have also been developed including the thirteen-item Short-MAST (Selzer, Vinokur, & van Rooijen, 1975) and the ten-item Brief-MAST (Pokorny, Miller, & Kaplan, 1972).

To complete the MAS, individuals answer yes or no to each item. The items are weighted on a scale of 1 to 5, with items concerning prior alcohol-related treatment experiences and help-seeking behaviors receiving higher weights. The total MAST score (range: 0-53) is derived by adding the weighted scores from all items that are endorsed. Studies indicate that the long version of the MAST possesses good internal-consistency reliability, as indicated by Cronbach's alpha coefficients of .83 to .93 (Gibbs, 1983). Therefore, the scale does appear to measure a unitary construct.

Selzer (1971) originally recommended adopting a cutting score of 5 or higher for a diagnosis of alcoholism with the MAST. However, since this cutting score was shown to produce a relatively high percentage of false positives (Gibbs, 1983), Selzer, Vinokur, and van Rooijen (1975) suggested the following cut points: 0 to 4, not alcoholic; 5 to 6, maybe alcoholic; 7 or more, alcoholic. Skinner (1982) recommended that scores of 7 to 24 be regarded as clear evidence of alcohol problems, and that scores of over 25 be considered evidence of substantial alcohol problems. In a recent study, Ross, Gavin, and Skinner (1990) compared scores on the MAST to diagnoses of alcoholism obtained from the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule (NIMH-DIS) (Robins, Helzer, Croughan, & Ratcliff, 1981). In this study, the MAST cutting score that yielded the highest overall accuracy was 13 or greater.

The validity of the MAST has been examined in a number of studies in which MAST scores, or scores from the shorter versions of the instrument, were compared to other measures of drinking status, including diagnostic interviews, physicians' diagnoses, and other self-report instruments. In reviewing twelve of these studies, Gibbs (1983) concluded that MAST diagnoses agreed with diagnoses of alcoholism reached through other assessment procedures in about 75 percent of cases. Where inconsistencies between results were found, it was found that the MAST tended to overdiagnose alcoholism. This probably reflects the fact that a cutting score of 5 or higher on the MAST was used in these studies. By adopting a cutting score of 13, Ross et al. (1990) were able to achieve a greater degree of agreement when comparing MAST scores to DIS-derived diagnoses.

As with any instrument that relies on the veracity of self-report information, the reliability and validity of the MAST is dependent on the willingness of the interviewee to answer the items truthfully. All the items possess high face validity, which means it is relatively easy to answer them so as to appear non-alcoholic. The MAST may therefore not be a useful screening tool with individuals who are motivated to conceal their alcohol problems.

(SEE ALSO: Addiction Severity Index; Diagnosis of Drug Abuse: Diagnostic Criteria; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual; Disease Concept of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory)


GIBBS, L. E. (1983). Validity and reliability of the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test: A review. Drug and

Alcohol Dependency, 12, 279-285. Pokorny, A. D., Miller, B. A., & Kaplan, H. B. (1972).

The brief MAST: A shortened version of the Michigan

Alcoholism Screening Test. American Journal of Psychiatry, 129, 118-121. Robins, L. N., et al. (1981). National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule: History, characteristics, and validity. Archives of General Psychiatry, 38, 381-389. Ross, H. E., Gavin, D. R., & Skinner, H. A. (1990). Diagnostic validity of the MAST and the Alcohol Dependence Scale in the assessment of DSM-III alcohol disorders. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 51, 506-513. SELZER, M. L. (1971). The Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test: The quest for a new diagnostic instrument. American Journal of Psychiatry, 127, 1653-1658. Selzer, M. L., Vinokur, A., & van Rooijen, L. (1975). A self-administered short version of the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST). Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 43, 117-126. Skinner, H. A. (1982). Guidelines for using the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test. Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation.

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.

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