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universal dependence scales

a collection of useful scale evaluation articles

LDQ :: Leeds Dependence Questionnaire


⓵ Raistrick DS, Bradshaw J, Tober GW, Weiner J, Allison J & Healey C (1994) Development of the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire. Addiction 89: 563-572

PMID: 8044122 

Description of the development of a 10 item scale measuring the single construct dependence - can be applied to most substances. Internal consistency alpha 0.94. Convergent validity LDQ correlation with SADQ 0.69; SODQ 0.30; GHQ 0.33opiates, 0.51alcohol; SFQ 0.27opiates, 0.42alcohol.

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⓶ Paton-Simpson G and MacKinnon S (1999) Evaluation of the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire (LDQ) for New Zealand. Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, Research Monograph Series: No 10. ISSN: 1174-1856 ISBN: 0-477-06343-8

View PDF of research report

A major independent review of the psychometrics of the LDQ. Acceptability 72-82% found LDQ helpful or very helpful. Convergent validity LDQ correlates with SF36 -0.60 to -0.12 on the 8 SF36 subscales. View the PDF for all the detail. 

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⓷ Tober GW (2000) The nature and measurement of change in substance dependence. University of Leeds, PhD Thesis

Available University of Leeds library

Description of the concept of dependence and the theoretical underpinning of the LDQ. Acceptability Flesch readability = 83 (easy). Structure Likert spacing: 33%>29%>29% (even distance between response choices). Convergent validity LDQ correlates with amount 0.54/heroin, 0.64/alcohol; frequency of use 0.38/heroin, 0.53/alcohol; ICSAC -0.53, ICSFC 0.66, ICSPC 0.74; and with coping  -0.14.  Change potential mean LDQ scores at baseline and 12mth 22.8 to 2.9 (of changers).

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⓸ Heather N, Raistrick DS, Tober GW, Godfrey C & Parrott S (2001) Leeds Dependence Questionnaire: new data from a large sample of clinic attenders. Addiction Research and Theory 9: 253-269

DOI: 10.3109/16066350109141753 

Further validation of LDQ on a large data set. Internal consistency alpha 0.86/opiates, 0.92/alcohol, 0.89/other drugs. Construct validity single factor accounting for 62% of variance loading 0.58-0.89 - variance 47.3% opiates, 58.7% alcohol, 51.8% other drugs. Convergent validity LDQ correlates with DALIalcohol 0.32, DALIdrugs 0.52;  GHQ 0.47/opiates, 0.54/alcohol, 0.39/other drugs.


 ⓹ Ford, P (2003) An evaluation of the Dartmouth Assessment of Lifestyle Inventory and the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire for use among detained psychiatric inpatients. Addiction 98: 111-118

PMID: 12492762 


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⓺ Hartney E, Orford J, Dalton S, Ferrins-Brown M, Kerr C & Maslin J (2003) Untreated Heavy Drinkers: a Qualitative and Quantitative Study of Dependence and Readiness to Change. Addiction Research & Theory, 11:5, 317-337

DOI: 10.1080/1606635031000141094


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⓻ Kelly JF, Magill M, Slaymaker V, Kahler C (2010) Psychometric validation of the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire (LDQ) in a young adult clinical sampleAddictive Behaviors 35: 331–336

DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.11.005

Concurrent validity LDQ correlates with DSM4 0.42.

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⓼ Anson H (2012) Service users’ experiences and opinions of routine outcome measures at Leeds Addiction Unit. Unpublished work from DClin Psychol Programme, University of Leeds

View PDF of research report 

Acceptability user rating 9.2/10.

⓽ Raistrick DS, Tober GW, Sweetman J, Unsworth S, Crosby H, & Evans T (2014) Measuring clinically significant outcomes – LDQ, CORE-10, and SSQ as dimension measures of addiction. The Psychiatrist 38: 112-115

DOI: 10.1192/pb.bp.112.041301 

Large study to generate normative data.

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⑩ Fairhurst CM, Böhnke JR, Gabe R, Croudace TJ, Tober GW, Raistrick D (2014) Factor analysis of treatment outcomes from a UK specialist addiction service: relationship between the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire, Social Satisfaction Questionnaire and CORE-10. Drug and Alcohol Review 33: 643-650

DOI: 10.1111/dar.12146

Construct validity single factor accounting for 64% of the variance.  Convergent validity  LDQ correlates with SSQ  -0.39; CORE10 0.65.

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⑪ Galecki JM, Sherman MF, Prenoveau JM & Chan KS (2016). Item analysis of the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire in community treatment centers. Psychological Assessment 28: 1061-1073

DOI: 10.1037/pas0000306  


SDS :: Severity of Dependence Scale


⓵ Gossop M, Darke S, Griffiths P, Hando J, Powis B, Hall W & Strang J. (1995) The Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS): psychometric properties of the SDS in English and Australian samples of heroin, cocaine and amphetamine users. Addiction 90: 607-614

PMID: 7795497

Description of the development of a five item scale measuring the single construct dependence - can be applied to most substances. Internal consistency: alpha 0.8-0.9. Construct validity single factor accounting for 57-77% of the variance. Convergent validity‣ SDS correlates with amount 0.24/heroin, 0.25/cocaine; frequency of use 0.43/heroin, 0.46/cocaine, 0.19/methadone & heroin, 0.42/amphetamine; duration of use 0.27/heroin, 0.30/cocaine, 0.28/amphetamine.


⓶ Topp L and Mattick RP (1997) Choosing a cut-off on the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) for amphetamine users. Addiction 92: 839-845

PMID: 9293043

Discriminant validity SDS cutoff ≥3 for amphetamine dependence: sensitivity 71%; specificity 77%.


⓷ Swift W, Copeland J and Hall W (1998) Choosing a diagnostic cut-off for cannabis dependence. Addiction 93: 1681-1692

PMID: 9926531 

Discriminant validity SDS cutoff ≥4 for cannabis dependence: sensitivity 64%; specificity 82%.


⓸ de las Cuevas C, Sanz EJ, de la Fuenta JA, Padilla J & Berenguer JC (2000) The Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) as screening test for benzodiazepine dependence: SDS validation study. Addiction 95: 245-250

PMID: 10723853 

Discriminant validity SDS cutoff ≥6 for benzodiazepine dependence: sensitivity 98%; specificity 94%.  


⓹ Kaye S and Darke S (2002) Determining a diagnostic cut-off on the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) for cocaine dependence. Addiction 97: 727–731

PMID: 12084142

Discriminant validity SDS cutoff ≥3 for cocaine dependence: sensitivity 67%; specificity 93%. 

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⓺ Lawrinson P, Copeland J, Gerber S and Gilmour S (2007) Determining a cut-off on the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) for alcohol dependence. Addictive Behaviors 32: 1474–1479

DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.09.005 

Discriminant validity SDS cutoff ≥3 for alcohol dependence: sensitivity 72%; specificity 86%.


⓻ Bruno R,  Matthews AJ, Topp L,  Degenhardt L,  Gomez R and Dunn M. (2009) Can the Severity of Dependence Scale Be Usefully Applied to ‘Ecstasy’? Neuropsychobiology 60: 37–147

DOI: 10.1159/000253550 

Discriminant validity SDS cutoff ≥4 for ecstasy dependence

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⓼ Castillo II, Saiz FG, Rojas OL, Vazquez MAL, Lerma JMJ (2010) Estimation of cutoff for the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) for opiate dependence by ROC analysis. Actas Espanolas Psiquiatria 38: 270-277

PMID: 21117001

Discriminant validity:SDS cutoff ≥5 △ opiate dependence: sensitivity 83%; specificity 85%

SDSQ :: Severity of Dependence Screening Questionnaire

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⓵ Vázquez FL, Blanco V,  and López M. (2007) Performance of a new substance dependence screening questionnaire (SDSQ) in a non-clinical population.  Addictive Behaviors 32: 1082–1087

DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.07.002 

Description of the development of an 11 item scale screening for dependence - can be applied to most substances. Concurrent validity SDSQ correlates with SCID 0.90. Discriminant validity SDSQ cutoff ≥3 △ DSM dependence: sensitivity 71%; specificity 77%. Area under ROC 0.95.

SDSS :: Substance Dependence Severity Scale

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⓵ Miele GM, Carpenter KM, Cockerham MS, Trautman KD, Blaine J & Hasin DS (2000) Substance Dependence Severity Scale (SDSS): reliability and validity of a clinician-administered interview for DSM-IV substance use disorders.Drug and Alcohol Dependence 59: 63–75

PMID: 10706976 

Description of development of scale with 8 or 11 items for each substance measuring the DSMIV construct dependence - can be applied to most substances. Internal consistency alpha 0.69-0.91; test-retest reliability 0.41-0.87; inter-rater reliability ≥0.92. Convergent validity SDSS correlates with clinical diagnosis of dependence: 0.88/alcohol, 0.94/cocaine, 0.86/heroin, 0.94/cannabis; frequency of use 0.52/alcohol, 0.37/cocaine, 0.51/heroin, 0.46/cannabis; Global Assessment Scale  -0.41/alcohol, -0.38/cocaine, -0.34/heroin, -0.03/cannabis. Discriminant validity SDSS correlates with a diagnosis of dependence 0.78/alcohol, 0.59/cocaine, 0.63/heroin, 0.66/cannabis 0.60/sedatives.

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⓶ Miele GM, Carpenter KM, Cockerham MS, Trautman KD, Blaine J & Hasin DS (2000) Concurrent and predictive validity of the Substance Dependence Severity Scale (SDSS).  Drug and Alcohol Dependence 59: 77–88

PMID: 10706977

Concurrent validity SDSS correlates with ASI 0.82 alcohol, 0.31 cocaine, 0.44 heroin, 0.04 cannabis.


Search terms used to identify dependence scales:

Athens search of Psychinfo: (("substance dependence" OR "alcohol dependence" OR "drug dependence" OR "nicotine dependence" OR "opiate dependence") AND (questionnaire OR scale) AND (psychometric OR development OR evaluation)).ti,ab [Limit to: Publication Year 1980-2016 and Abstract included and (Record type Journal Article) and (Language English) and (Age group Adulthood 18 Yrs & Older) and (Population Human) and (Classification Behavioral & Psychological Treatment of Physical Illness or Clinical Psychological Testing or Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation or Drug & Alcohol Usage Legal or Health Psychology & Medicine or Health Psychology Testing)]