Physicians' low detection rates of alcohol dependence or abuse: A matter of methodological shortcomings?

H. J. Rumpf*, J. Bohlmann, A. Hill, U. Hapke, U. John

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
71 Zitate (Scopus)


Previous research may have underestimated physicians' detection rates of alcohol dependence or abuse because case findings have been based on screening questionnaires instead of using in-depth diagnostic criteria and detection rates have been assessed by analyzing patient records instead of directly interviewing the physician. To test this hypothesis, consecutive patients of a general hospital (N=436) and of 12 randomly selected general practices (N=929) were examined. A two-step diagnostic procedure included screening questionnaires and a diagnostic interview (SCAN). The analysis compares detection rates based on methods used in previous studies to data using more precise methods. Physicians' detection rates ranged from 37.0% to 88.9% in the general hospital and from 11.1% to 74.7% in general practices depending on methods used. The physicians' detection rates could be improved by 10% (general hospital) and 20% (general practice) through the additional use of a screening questionnaire. Of those patients assessed by the physicians as problem drinkers in the general hospital, 13.9% were referred to an addiction consultation-liaison service. Data reveal that physicians' abilities to detect problem drinkers have been underestimated. Routine screening procedures could play a major role in improving detection rates and reminding the physician to intervene.

ZeitschriftGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Seiten (von - bis)133-137
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2001

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Gehirn, Hormone, Verhalten - Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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