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Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Dec 1;146(11):975-81.

Test-retest reliability of the cognitive lifetime drinking history.

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  • 1Research Institute on Addictions, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.


A new measure of lifetime alcohol consumption, the Cognitive Lifetime Drinking History (CLDH) uses beverage-specific questions on drink sizes and assesses drinking patterns to enhance recall. Two methods of establishing drinking intervals were examined: 1) floating--the respondent's report of when drinking changed, and 2) fixed--defined in terms of decades. Test-retest reliability for lifetime ounces of alcohol consumed and times intoxicated in lifetime estimated at visits 1 week or more apart was assessed in postmyocardial infarction patients (n = 81) and controls (n = 138) who had had at least 12 drinks in a year during their lifetimes. No significant differences in estimates of lifetime ounces of alcohol or times intoxicated were observed. Spearman's r ranged between 0.85 and 0.92 for the floating and fixed versions of the CLDH administered at a single visit and between 0.74 and 0.85 for the floating or fixed administered at both visits. Time between visits did not influence correlations. Intervals reported on the floating CLDH were comparable for postmyocardial infarction patients and controls. It took approximately 5 minutes longer to administer the floating CLDH than the fixed CLDH. Findings support use of the CLDH for case-control studies and suggest that the floating and fixed versions would yield comparable results.

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