JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Psychometric validation of an adaptation of the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale to assess aggregated drug craving.

PURPOSE: Clinicians need a broad spectrum measurement of psychoactive substance craving (i.e., alcohol and/or drug) to assess collective treatment effects, especially in the context of polysubstance use. In three separate studies, we investigated the psychometric properties of an adapted version of the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS), designed to measure broad range substance craving.

DESIGN: In Study One, we examined the latent factor structure for craving, as well as concurrent validity with measures of frequency and severity of substance use. In Study Two, we examined the short-term test-retest reliability. In Study Three, we examined the long-term sensitivity to treatment effects at 12 month postdischarge.

SETTING: An inpatient SUD program in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS: Adult patients receiving treatment for SUD: Study One, n = 971; Study Two, n = 35; Study Three, n = 191.

MEASUREMENTS: We used an adapted version of the PACS, termed the Aggregated Drug Craving Scale (ADCS), and measures of substance use frequency, severity, and abstinence.

FINDINGS: In Study One, confirmatory factor analysis supported the unidimensional structure of the craving scale (CFI: 0.994, RMSEA: 0.071, SRMR: 0.010). In addition, statistically significant, medium effect size associations provided evidence of concurrent validity with measures of substance use frequency and severity (CFI = 0.992; RMSEA = 0.054; SRMR = 0.015). In Study Two, the ADCS demonstrated good agreement over two time points (ICC = 0.82), exhibiting acceptable short-term retest reliability. In Study 3, the mean craving score decreased significantly from 19.6 at baseline to 7.5 at 12-month follow-up (t = -18.48, p < 0.001), demonstrating an ability to detect long-term sensitivity to treatment effects (Cohen's d = -1.54).

CONCLUSIONS: Together, these findings provide initial support for a concise, broad-spectrum measure of aggregated drug cravings among an SUD treatment population.

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