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Psychol Addict Behav. 2002 Dec;16(4):290-8.

Item response theory modeling of substance use: an index based on 10 drug categories.

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  • 1Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, 707 Salk Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA. levent@pitt.edu


This study examined the psychometric characteristics of an index of substance use involvement using item response theory. The sample consisted of 292 men and 140 women who qualified for a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd ed., rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 1987) substance use disorder (SUD) diagnosis and 293 men and 445 women who did not qualify for a SUD diagnosis. The results indicated that men had a higher probability of endorsing substance use compared with women. The index significantly predicted health, psychiatric, and psychosocial disturbances as well as level of substance use behavior and severity of SUD after a 2-year follow-up. Finally, this index is a reliable and useful prognostic indicator of the risk for SUD and the medical and psychosocial sequelae of drug consumption.

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