Using Rasch Model to Examine Psychometric Properties of a New Hazardous Drinking Measure for Undergraduate Students

Julia Johnston

Authors:  Julia Johnston, Dr. Michael Moorhouse,  Marina Scopelitis

Faculty Mentor:   Dr. Michael Moorhouse

College:  College of Public Health and Health Professions


College students are considered a population that is especially vulnerable to alcohol-related negative consequences. Current screening tools, which aim to identify individuals who are hazardous drinkers, include Binge Drinking (5 or more alcoholic drinks for men/4 or more alcoholic drinks for women in a two-hour period on one occasion within the previous two weeks) and the Alcohol Use Dependency Identification Test – Consumption (AUDIT-C). While each tool demonstrates high measurement sensitivity, researchers question measurement specificity. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to address the gaps within current measures as it concerns identifying risky drinkers, and to validate a new measure known as Young Adult Risky Drinking (YARD). The specific aim of this study is to test Item Response Theory (IRT) model assumptions and psychometric properties of Construct Validity and Reliability. The instrument was administered via anonymous survey with inclusion criteria consisting of being an undergraduate student at the University of Florida. Participants are asked 84 multiple choice questions which are broken down into various categories: 9 demographic questions, 55 questions regarding drinking behaviors within the last two weeks, and 17 questions regarding major negative health outcomes that have occurred while under the influence of alcohol within the past two weeks.

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9 Responses
  1. Daniela Moreira

    Hi Julia. Very interesting research! You mentioned that a limitation to the study is that it only included participants from the university of Florida. I was wondering how you think this study could be replicated/modified to include a more diverse sample?

    1. Julia Johnston

      Hi Daniela! Thank you so much for your comment. For this research study, we only distributed and advertised our survey to University of Florida students. However, our survey could be distributed to other universities in the future! It would just be a matter of having the means to distribute it to those students. Please let me know if you have any additional questions!

    1. Julia Johnston

      Hi there! Thank you for your question. The current definition of binge drinking simply separates students into “at-risk” or “not at-risk” categories. While we currently have prevention and intervention strategies for hazardous college drinking in place, we are still lacking a way to identify these drinkers. With this new instrument, we are further break down those categories into more risk groups so that we may better identify hazardous drinkers and provide them with effective intervention strategies.

    1. Julia Johnston

      Hi Sheila! Thank you so much for your nice comment. I look forward to reviewing your research.

  2. Hey Julia! Great job presenting your research! This is really important work and seems like an understudied area. Good to see you at hard at work helping to develop tools which may help deal with the high prevalence rate of binge drinking on college campuses.

  3. Julia Johnston

    Hi Tyler! Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my research. I also got the chance to view your page and you did an outstanding job. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!