Background: Standardized alcohol craving scales are rarely used outside of research environmentsdespite recognized clinical utility. Scale length is a key barrier to more widespread application. A briefmeasure of alcohol craving is needed to improve research and treatment of alcohol use disorders(AUDs). Grounded in the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of Desire, the Alcohol Craving Experience(ACE) Questionnaire comprises two 11-item self-report scales that assess past-week frequency and max-imum strength of alcohol craving. This study aimed to create a brief version of the ACE while maintain-ing psychometric integrity and clinical utility.Methods: Patients attending a university hospital alcohol and drug outpatient service for the treat-ment of AUD completed the ACE as part of a questionnaire battery. Three patient samples were uti-lized: 519 patients with pretreatment and outcome data, 228 patients with pretreatment data, and 66patients who completed the ACE at treatment sessions 1 and 2.Results: The Frequency scale of the ACE possessed greater clinical utility and predictive validitythan the Strength scale. Revision of the Frequency measure produced a 5-item “Mini Alcohol CravingExperience” (MACE) Questionnaire. Satisfactory validity (construct, predictive, concurrent, conver-gent, and incremental) and reliability (internal and test–retest) were maintained. A 1 standard deviationincrease in pretreatment MACE score was associated with a 54 percentage increase in the odds ofpatient lapse or dropout.Conclusions: The MACE provides a brief, theoretically, and psychometrically robust measure ofalcohol craving suitable for use with AUD populations in time-limited clinical and research settings.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research / Vol. 41, No. 1, pp.156-164