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Alcohol Alcohol. 2014 Sep-Oct;49(5):525-30. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agu035. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Translating the semi-structured assessment for drug dependence and alcoholism in the Western Pacific: rationale, study design and reliability of alcohol dependence.

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  • 1The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA
  • 2Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, and Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 3Providence VA Medical Center, Providence, RI, USA Division of Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 4Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, University of Hawaii Hilo, Hilo, HI, USA.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and VISN 4 MIRECC, Philadelphia VAMC, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • 6Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA.
  • 7Department of Epidemiology and International Health Institute, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 8Providence VA Medical Center, Providence, RI, USA Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA.



The aims of this study were to develop a bilingual version of the Semi-Structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism (SSADDA) in English and Samoan and determine the reliability of assessments of alcohol dependence in American Samoa.


The study consisted of development and reliability-testing phases. In the development phase, the SSADDA alcohol module was translated and the translation was evaluated through cognitive interviews. In the reliability-testing phase, the bilingual SSADDA was administered to 40 ethnic Samoans, including a sub-sample of 26 individuals who were retested.


Cognitive interviews indicated the initial translation was culturally and linguistically appropriate except items pertaining to alcohol tolerance, which were modified to reflect Samoan concepts. SSADDA reliability testing indicated diagnoses of DSM-III-R and DSM-IV alcohol dependence were reliable. Reliability varied by language of administration.


The English/Samoan version of the SSADDA is appropriate for the diagnosis of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence, which may be useful in advancing research and public health efforts to address alcohol problems in American Samoa and the Western Pacific. The translation methods may inform researchers translating diagnostic and assessment tools into different languages and cultures.

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