Alcohol Problem Screening Study – “Comfortably Engaging”

Study Description and Methods

In this randomized trial, we compared two screening tools for problem drinking. Thirteen National Research Network physicians and 31 Missouri clinicians enrolled 2,800 patients in this study.

Specific Aims and Objectives

The objective of this study was to compare two screening instruments for problem drinking -- the CAGE tool and a single question -- assessing frequency of use, patient and clinician comfort, and patient engagement in change.


This study was conducted from March 2001 through March 2002.

Key Findings and Publications

Clinicians and patients reported similar comfort with the CAGE questions and the single-question screening tools for problem drinking, and the two instruments were equal in their ability to engage the patient. In Missouri, the single question was more likely to be used.

Access the complete manuscript:

Comfortably engaging: Which approach to alcohol screening should we use?( Vinson DC, Galliher JM, Reidinger C, et al. Ann Fam Med 2004;2:398-404.

Contact Information

For additional information about this study, please contact:

AAFP National Research Network
1-800-274-2237 x3180

This project was funded by grants from Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation and Joint Grant Awards Program of the AAFP and the AAFP Foundation.