The AUDIT has been used worldwide since 1989. It enquires about the three key domains of:
1. alcohol intake;
2. potential dependence on alcohol, and;
3. experience of alcohol-related harm.
Many of the AUDIT’s questions reflect the fundamental relationship between people and alcohol, including its liability to cause dependence (addiction) and a range of harmful consequences. The three domains can be scored individually but it is most usual to compute the score for the AUDIT as a whole.
The AUDIT questions were the best performing questions from a bank of approximately 150 questions which was used as the assessment instrument in the original World Health Organization (WHO) study. In addition, all the questions have high face validity and in themselves, can be used as the basis for further clinical enquiry.
The WHO study included countries of high, medium and low socioeconomic status, different cultures and languages, and different health care systems and different social and political systems. Given these origins, no one country or culture dominated the database for the development of the AUDIT. The AUDIT therefore has extremely strong credentials as an international instrument.
The AUDIT has not required an update or revision since its publication although numerous derivations have been introduced including shorter versions and national versions with different response categories.