How would you define alcoholism? Write a brief definition. Based on this conceptualization, describe a method of measurement that would be valid for a study of alcoholism (alcoholism as you define it). Now go to the American Council for Drug Education (ACDE) and read some of their facts about alcohol at www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders. Is this information consistent with your definition? What are the “facts” about alcoholism presented by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) at www.ncadd.org? How is alcoholism conceptualized? Based on this conceptualizing, give an example of one method that would be a valid measurement in a study of alcoholism. Now look at some of the other related links accessible from the ACDE and NCADD websites. What are some of the different conceptualizations of alcoholism that you find? How does the chosen conceptualization affect one’s choice of methods of measurement?
A list of different measures of substance abuse is available at a site maintained by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, www.niaaa.nih.gov/research/guidelines-and-resources/recommended-alcohol-questions. There is lengthy discussion of the various self-report instruments for alcohol problem screening among adults at http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/ AssessingAlcohol/selfreport.html (Connors & Volk 2004). Read the Connors and Volk article, and pick two of the instruments they discuss (Connors & Volk 2004:27–32). What concept of substance abuse is reflected in each measure? Is either measure multidimensional? What do you think the relative advantages of each measure might be? What evidence is provided about their reliability and validity? What other test of validity would you suggest?