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AUDIT-C for Alcohol Use

This questionnaire is used to help determine whether a patient has an alcohol abuse disorder.
How frequently did you have alcohol containing drink in the past year?
Never 0
Monthly or less 1
2 - 4 times a month 2
2 - 3 times per week 3
4 or more times a week 4
In the Previous year, how many alcohol-containing drinks did you have on a day?
1 or 2 drinks 0
3 or 4 1
5 or 6 2
7 to 9 3
10 or more 4
How many times did you have 6 or more drinks on one occasion in the previous year?
Never 0
Less than monthly 1
Monthly 2
Weekly 3
Daily or almost daily 4


Measured Factor
AUDIT-C alcohol abuse risk score
Measured Factor Disease
  • alcohol abuse
  • alcohol dependence
  • possible liver damage
Measured Factor Detail
In order to effectively screen for alcohol abuse but not take too much time, AUDIT-C was developed as a shortened version of the AUDIT survey. The AUDIT-C survey asks the patient in the past year how often they consume drinks containing alcohol, how many alcoholic drinks they have on a regular day, and how many drinks they consume at a special occasion. Each answer is given a certain number of points, and the patient is assessed for possible alcohol misuse or abuse based on the total number of points they have from the survey. For females: Scores ≥3 indicate alcohol misuse. For males: Scores ≥4 indicate alcohol misuse. Scores ≥5 for both sexes indicate alcohol misuse and possible liver damage.
Body System
Measured Factor Low Impact
  • The normal range or "low risk" category is 0-3 points based on the survey questions, so there is no impact on a low range for this test.
Measured Factor High Impact
  • High values indicate a high risk for alcohol abuse

Result Interpretation

Ranges Ranges
  • Critical High: ≥5
  • Normal: 0-2 is considered low risk for females | 0-3 is considered low risk for males
  • Normal Adult Male: 0-3
  • Normal Adult Female: 0-2
  • Normal Geriatric Male: 0-3
  • Normal Geriatric Female: 0-2
Result High Conditions
  • alcohol abuse
  • alcohol dependence
  • possible liver damage
Test Limitations
This test was developed using data from participants who were predominantly white, male veterans (mean age, 67 years) with multiple medical problems. Other people might smoke and drink more than study participants. Moreover, since the privacy during completion of questionnaires or telephone interviews was not assured, possibly social desirability bias might  have occured.
References: 1


Study Validation 1
A study was done to examine the efficacy of AUDIT-C across three different racial groups: Caucasian/white, African American, and Hispanic. The study showed that AUDIT-C was effective in predicting abuse misuse and abuse among all three racial groups. The groups were split between men and women to further assess the results. The results among the men showed a higher sensitivity in the white racial group (95%) compared to African American group (76%, p =0.1)  with no significant difference from Hispanic men (85%, p=0.11).  In women, the sensitivity was higher in Hispanic (85%) than in African-American (67%; P = .03) or White (70%; P = .04) women. The study concluded that the performance of the AUDIT-C was excellent in all 3 racial groups.
References: 2
Study Validation 2
A study compared the use of AUDIT and AUDIT-C in predicting alcohol abuse disorder among patients. The study had patients complete the AUDIT survey, and the surveys were scored to determine the AUDIT results. The surveys were then scored again only including the first three questions to determine the AUDIT-C results. The scores were then compared for efficacy. The results of the study showed that AUDIT and AUDIT-C were very comparable in predicting alcohol abuse disorder (p=0.395), and both were considered to be accurate in their predictions. Since the survey was only given to trauma patients, the researchers recommended another study to determine the efficacyof AUDIT-C among non-trauma patients.
References: 3


Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH, is currently a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and a physician in Internal Medicine at the Washington Permanente Medical Group. Her research focuses on identifying and addressing unhealthy alcohol use in primary care


  1. Bush K, Kivlahan DR, McDonell MB, Fihn SD, Bradley KA. The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C): an effective brief screening test for problem drinking. Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Sep 14;158(16):1789-95.
  2. Frank D, DeBenedetti AF, Volk RJ, Williams EC, Kivlahan DR, Bradley KA. Effectiveness of the AUDIT-C as a Screening Test for Alcohol Misuse in Three Race/Ethnic Groups. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Jun; 23(6): 781–787.
  3. Vitesnikova J, Dinh M, Leonard E, Boufous S, Conigrave K. Use of AUDIT-C as a tool to identify hazardous alcohol consumption in admitted trauma patients. Injury. 2014 Sep;45(9):1440-4.

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