Validation of the MINI (DSM IV) tool for the assessment of alcohol dependence among young people in northern Tanzania using the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol (PEth)

Francis, J; Helander, A; Kapiga, S; Weiss, H; Grosskurth, H. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015; Validation of the MINI (DSM IV) Tool for the Assessment of Alcohol Dependence among Young People in Northern Tanzania

The alcohol dependence section of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview questionnaire (MINI) has not been evaluated in young Africans. Research applied the MINI in a cross-sectional study of 202 alcohol users from northern-Tanzania, aged 18-24 years (103 male casual workers and 99 students) and validated it against phophatilylethanol (PEth) at a cut-off suggesting heavy chronic alcohol use.  

The MINI dependence criteria were met by 39% of participants although their PEth levels were low and many young people with high PEth levels were not classified as dependent.

The sensitivity of the MINI ranged from 0% to 69% (female students and male workers, respectively) and specificity from 52% to 85% (workers and female students, respectively) a modified MINI with three affirmative responses to five questions increased specificity to 92% - 97%; however sensitivity remained low.

The results show that the performance of the MINI in detecting dependence among young people from northern-Tanzania is unsatisfactory. Whilst specificity was improved using a modified version sensitivity remained low. An accurate tool for the diagnosis of alcohol dependence is needed for epidemiological and clinical purposes. 

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