Dr Paul Toner

Dr Paul Toner leads research which aims to prevent and alleviate the suffering and economic burden caused by addiction and common mental health difficulties. Through rigorous development work, experimental and mediation testing utilising innovative methods his research attempts to improve ways of preventing, assessing and treating these issues at individual, family, community and population levels.

Paul has received two personal awards from the ESRC and the SSA for doctoral and post-doctoral research respectively, and with colleagues has generated a research income of approximately £1 million from funders including the NIHR, Wellcome Trust, DFID and Alcohol Change UK.

A new item bank for screening and assessing alcohol use and problems in young people

Presentation link: A new item bank for screening and assessing alcohol use and problems in young people

This programme of work was stimulated by a gap in knowledge identified in research, policy and practice literature and aimed to develop an item bank to screen for and assess the continuum of alcohol risk and harm in young people.

The study comprised four stages: 1) a rigorous systematic review and meta-analysis; 2) semi-structured interviews with 44 adolescents in range of settings to develop and refine item content; 3) 381 young people completed the 65 items produced from stages 1 and 2. Exploratory analysis indicates that an item based on heavy episodic drinking is most predictive of full AUDIT score >8 for screening and the new assessment items have an alpha of .92 (adjusted for 10 items), outperforming existing instruments 4) 827 young people have completed via pen and paper or online administration the 33 items brought forward from stage 3. 

My presentation will discuss confirmatory categorical structural equation modelling results with recommendations given on the best performing items to screen for and assess alcohol consumption and problems in young people. To conclude, suggestions for further validation work on the item bank and applicability to different practice settings will be made.