Item banks for alcohol use from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS): Use, consequences, and expectancies

Pilkonis P.A., Yu L., Colditz J., Dodds N., Johnston K.L., Maihoefer C., Stover A.M., Daley D.C., & McCarty D. (2012). Item banks for alcohol use from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS): Use, consequences, and expectancies. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 130(1-3), 167-177. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.11.002


Background: We report on the development and calibration of item banks for alcohol use, negative and positive consequences of alcohol use, and negative and positive expectancies regarding drinking as part of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS).

Methods: Comprehensive literature searches yielded an initial bank of more than 5,000 items from over 200 instruments. After qualitative item analysis (including focus groups and cognitive interviewing), 141 items were included in field testing. Items for alcohol use and consequences were written in a first-person, past-tense format with a 30-day time frame and 5 response options reflecting frequency. Items for expectancies were written in a third-person, present-tense format with no time frame specified and 5 response options reflecting intensity. The calibration sample included 1,407 respondents, 1,000 from the general population (ascertained through an internet panel) and 407 from community treatment programs participating in the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN).

Results: Final banks of 37, 31, 20, 11, and 9 items (108 total items) were calibrated for alcohol use, negative consequences, positive consequences, negative expectancies, and positive expectancies, respectively, using item response theory (IRT). Seven-item static short forms were also developed from each item bank.

Conclusions: Test information curves showed that the PROMIS item banks provided substantial information in a broad range of severity, making them suitable for treatment, observational, and epidemiological research.

Keywords: alcohol use, alcohol consequences, alcohol expectancies, item response theory, measurement

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