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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009 Mar;70(2):296-303.

Validity of the lifetime drinking history: a comparison of retrospective and prospective quantity-frequency measures.

Author information

1
Family Research Center, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, 795 Willow Road (MC151J), Menlo Park, California 94025, USA. laura.koenig@va.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The Lifetime Drinking History (LDH) has been used to examine alcohol use throughout the life span. Given its retrospective nature, it is important to examine the validity of the assessment.

METHOD:

Building on previous work establishing the reliability and validity of the LDH, the current study examined a sample of 1,295 men in the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. The men were assessed retrospectively with the LDH in 2000, at an average age of 51. The drinking patterns of these same men were also assessed prospectively in four prior studies, taking place in 1987, 1990, 1992, and 1995.

RESULTS:

Validity of the LDH was examined by comparing the correspondence between the prospective and retrospective quantity-frequency measures and reported age at first regular drinking. Correlations between the retrospective and prospective assessments were high for age at first regular drinking (.42-.58) and quantity-frequency measures (.47-.69), although some mean differences in the amount of consumption existed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results support the use of the LDH in reporting phases of drinking across the life span.

PMID:
19261242
PMCID:
PMC2653615
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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