Screening elderly veterans for alcoholism

Maureen Brady Moran*, Bruce J. Naughton, Susan L. Hughes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of an alcoholism screening test not previously tested in the elderly. Design: Cross-sectional study, face-to-face interviews. Setting: Veterans Administration (VA) outpatient facility. Patients/participants: Men ≥70 years old seeking care in a newly established VA outpatient facility were invited to participate in a health assessment program. Of 109 participants who enrolled, 96 completed both interviews. Interventions: The screening test was administered by an internist as part of a medical history. The Michigan Alcobolism Screening Test (MAST), used as the “gold standard,” was administered by a trained interviewer as part of a longer structured interview. Measurements and main results: The screening test had a sensitivity of 0.52 and a specificity of 0.76 in this sample. Conclusions: The sensitivity and specificity of the screening test were lower in this sample in comparison with previously reported results in a younger population. Differences in the test performance may be related to differences in attitudes and drinking behaviors of elderly veterans when compared with those of younger men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-364
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990


  • aged
  • alcoholism
  • ambulatory care
  • gender
  • mass screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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