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The Michigan Alcohol Screening Test

Measures Lifetime Drinking Problems

By

Updated April 07, 2014

Developed in 1971, the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) is one of the oldest and most accurate alcohol screening tests available, effective in identifying dependent drinkers with up to 98 percent accuracy.

Questions on the MAST test relate to the patient's self-appraisal of social, vocational, and family problems frequently associated with heavy drinking. The test was developed to screen for alcohol problems in the general population.

Drawbacks

There are two drawbacks to the MAST test, compared with other alcohol screening tests available today. The length of the test makes it less convenient to administer in a busy primary care office or emergency room setting, compared to the shorter four- or five-question tests available. The questions on the MAST test also focus on problems over the patient's lifetime, rather than on current problems. This means the test is less likely to detect alcohol problems in the early stages.

Over the years, there have been several variations of the MAST developed, including the brief MAST, the short MAST, as well as the self-administered MAST. The following is the 22-question, self-administered MAST.

The MAST Test

The MAST Test is a simple, self-scoring test that helps assess if you have a drinking problem. Answer yes or no to the following questions:

1. Do you feel you are a normal drinker? ("normal" is defined as drinking as much or less than most other people)
___ Yes   ___ No

2. Have you ever awakened the morning after drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?
___ Yes   ___ No

3. Does any near relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

4. Can you stop drinking without difficulty after one or two drinks?
___ Yes   ___ No

5. Do you ever feel guilty about your drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

6. Have you ever attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?
___ Yes   ___ No

7. Have you ever gotten into physical fights when drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

8. Has drinking ever created problems between you and a near relative or close friend?
___ Yes   ___ No

9. Has any family member or close friend gone to anyone for help about your drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

10. Have you ever lost friends because of your drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

11. Have you ever gotten into trouble at work because of drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

12. Have you ever lost a job because of drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

13. Have you ever neglected your obligations, family, or work for two or more days in a row because you were drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

14. Do you drink before noon fairly often?
___ Yes   ___ No

15. Have you ever been told you have liver trouble, such as cirrhosis?
___ Yes   ___ No

16. After heavy drinking, have you ever had delirium tremens (DTs), severe shaking, visual or auditory (hearing) hallucinations?
___ Yes   ___ No

17. Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

18. Have you ever been hospitalized because of drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

19. Has your drinking ever resulted in your being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward?
___ Yes   ___ No

20. Have you ever gone to any doctor, social worker, clergyman, or mental health clinic for help with any emotional problem in which drinking was part of the problem?
___ Yes   ___ No

21. Have you been arrested more than once for driving under the influence of alcohol?
___ Yes   ___ No

22. Have you ever been arrested, or detained by an official for a few hours, because of other behavior while drinking?
___ Yes   ___ No

Scoring the MAST Test

Score one point if you answered "no" to the following questions: 1 or 4. Score one point if you answered "yes" to the following questions: 2, 3, 5 through 22.

A total score of six or more indicates hazardous drinking or alcohol dependence and further evaluation by a healthcare professional is recommended.

Sources

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the San Fernado Valley. "Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST)." Retrieved July 2007.

Alcohol Concern. Primary Care Alcohol Information Service. Retrieved 2007.

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