Convicted driving while impaired (DWI) offenders are often evaluated for substance abuse problems in court-ordered screening programs. Although self-report information is typically used to determine the need for treatment, little is known about the accuracy of self-reports of alcohol use problems in this population. To investigate the accuracy of offender alcohol diagnoses at screening, this study compares Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (third edition-revised) alcohol abuse and dependence diagnoses from an initial, court-ordered screening evaluation of 583 female and 495 male convicted DWI offenders with diagnoses and other self-reported information from a voluntary, non-coerced interview 5 years after the screening referral. Results showed that 16.8% of offenders were diagnosed with alcohol abuse and 20.1% with alcohol dependence at the initial screening. At the 5-year interview, 19.9% received a retrospective diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 60.1% received a retrospective diagnosis of alcohol dependence at the age at which they were screened. Significantly fewer of those with a retrospective alcohol diagnosis reported that their alcohol use self-reports at screening were very accurate compared to those with no retrospective diagnosis. These results suggest that underreporting is common even though many DWI offenders undergoing screening have diagnosable alcohol-related problems. This underreporting leads to inaccurate diagnosis and a missed opportunity for treatment.

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    The Boulevard, Langford Lane
    Kidlington, Oxford  United Kingdom  OX5 1GB
  • Authors:
    • Lapham, S C
    • de Baca, J C
    • McMillan, G
    • Hunt, W C
  • Publication Date: 2004-11


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 00989074
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 12 2005 12:00AM