The RAPS4 Alcohol Screening Test

Proven More Effective Than CAGE Test

Doctor
RASP4 Works in Busy Healthcare Offices. © Getty Images

The RAPS4 alcohol screening test is a four-question quiz designed for busy clinical healthcare offices that has been shown to be effective in detecting alcohol dependence in the past 12 months.

It began as a five-question test called the Rapid Alcohol Problems Screen and was designed to maximize sensitivity in detecting alcohol problems. It was later refined to four questions and the name was changed to RAPS4.

The test was made up of questions already in use in other screening tests.

Primary care physicians' offices can be very busy as the family doctor tries to see all of the patients that request an appointment. If the doctor suspects that alcohol may be affecting the health of one of his patients, there really is not enough time for him to conduct a thorough substance abuse evaluation.

Therefore, short 4- or 5-questions quizzes, like the RAOS4, are ideal for making an initial evaluation.

Highly Effective Test

The RAPS4 test has been found to be highly effective in detecting alcohol dependence in the past year across gender and ethnic groups - white, black and Hispanic.

Research has also shown that the RAPS4 is more effective than the CAGE test, which has traditionally been the most widely used test in clinical settings.

The RAPS4 gets its name from the questions it poses to the patient which pertain to remorse (R), amnesia (A), performance (P), and starter drinking behavior (S).

Each question pertains to the patient's behaviors in the past year.

The RAPS4 Questions

1. Have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?

2. Has a friend or a family member ever told you about things you said or did while you were drinking that you could not remember?

3. Have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of drinking?

4. Do you sometimes take a drink when you first get up in the morning?

A "yes" answer to at least one of the four questions suggests that your drinking is harmful to your health and well-being and may adversely affect your work and those around you.

If you answered "no" to all four questions, your drinking pattern is considered safe for most people and your results do not suggest that alcohol is harming your health.

Unsure about the results? You may want to take the more detailed Alcohol Abuse Screening Test for further evaluation.

Source:
Alcohol Concern. "Primary Care Alcohol Information Service - Screening tools for healthcare settings". Retrieved 2007.

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