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J Subst Abuse Treat. 1995 May-Jun;12(3):181-93.

The development of the Comprehensive Addiction Severity Index for Adolescents (CASI-A). An interview for assessing multiple problems of adolescents.

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University of Pennsylvania/VA Center for Studies of Addiction, Philadelphia, USA.


The Comprehensive Addiction Severity Index for Adolescents (CASI-A) is a 45 to 90-minute comprehensive, semi-structured clinical interview for evaluating adolescents who present for treatment at various provider agencies. CASI-A modules and their individual items were selected and revised based on theory, clinical wisdom, and adolescent experiences obtained during pilot interviews and focus groups. The CASI-A assesses known risk factors, concomitant symptomatology, and consequences of adolescent alcohol/drug use within seven primary areas of functioning: education status, alcohol/drug use, family relationships, peer relationships, legal status, psychiatric distress, and use of free time. The CASI-A is not a diagnostic or screening instrument, but rather a clinical assessment tool that obtains clinically pertinent information designed to guide treatment planning and to evaluate treatment outcome. The CASI-A's design makes it suitable for administration in a variety of settings, for repeat administration at posttreatment follow-up evaluations, and for assessment of virtually all adolescents in treatment regardless of their admission problem. Overall, the CASI-A has encouraging but preliminary evidence of validity and internal consistency. Information collected soon after admission during administration of the CASI-A by nonclinical interviewers corresponded quite well with that obtained over the course of the adolescent's treatment stay by the entire treatment team. Revisions to the instrument are being made in those areas where correspondence between information on the CASI-A and that extracted from clinical records dropped below 75%, or in those early subscales, where alpha coefficients dropped below .6. As a result of the encouraging results reported in this paper, we are beginning additional psychometric testing, refining the proposed scoring system, and developing a computerized data entry, scoring, and report system.

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