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Evaluate Your Alcohol Consumption

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Acronym:

TLFB Alcohol

Author/Developer :

Sobell, L.C., & Sobell, M.B., (1992). Timeline followback: A technique for assessing self-reported alcohol consumption. In R.Z. Litten & J. Allen (Eds.), Measuring alcohol consumption: Psychosocial and biological methods (pp. 41-72). New Jersey: Humana Press.
Sobell, L. C., & Sobell, M. B. (1995). Alcohol consumption measures. In J. P. Allen & M. Columbus (Ed.), Assessing alcohol problems: A guide for clinicians and researchers. (pp. 55-73). Rockville, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Sobell, Linda C. & Sobell, Mark B.
Center for Psychological Studies
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale,
FL. 33314
sobelll@cps.nova.edu

Publication dates:

1992 and 1995

Description / Type of Assessment:

The TLFB is a method for assessing recent drinking behavior. The TLFB can be administered by an interviewer, self-administered or administered by computer. It involves asking clients to retrospectively estimate their daily alcohol consumption over a time period ranging from 7 days to 24 months prior to the interview.

Primary use / Purpose:

Assessment (pre- and post-intervention) of alcohol use.

Domains measured / Life Areas / Problems Assessed:

Quantitative estimations of daily alcohol consumption.

Population:

Males and females 14 years of age and older in the general population and clinical samples.

Administration / Completion Time:

10-30 minutes to complete, depending on the length of the interval being assessed.

Scoring Procedures:

TLFB provides a variety of variables and different estimations of individual consumption levels.

Scoring Time:

Not applicable.

Credentials/Training:

Minimum training is necessary.

Source of Psychometrics:

Sobell, Linda C. & Sobell, Mark B. (See address above).

Languages:

English, Spanish, French, Polish, Swedish

Availability / Inquiries:

Linda C. Sobell (See address above).

Relevant Studies
Sobell-Alc
Dr. Linda C. Sobell, Dr. Mark B. Sobell. Detailed Reviews of the Timeline Followback Method (TLFB) can be found in: (1) Sobell, L. C., & Sobell, M. B. (1992). Timeline Follow-back: A technique for assessing self-reported alcohol consumption. In R. Z. Litten & J. Allen (Ed.), Measuring alcohol consumption: Psychosocial and biological methods (pp. 41-72). Towota, NJ: Humana Press; and (2) Sobell, L. C., & Sobell, M. B. (1995). Alcohol consumption measures. In J. P. Allen & M. Columbus (Ed.), Assessing alcohol problems: A guide for clinicians and researchers. (pp. 55-73). Rockville, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Data derived from a timeline method for assessing recent reports of drinking have been found to have high test-retest reliability. It has been evaluated with multiple drinker groups with and without problems, males and females 14 years of age and older, and has been translated and used in several languages (i.e., French, Spanish, Polish, Swedish).

Evidence for the method's validity derives mainly from clinical populations. TLFB self-reports have typically been validated using (1) verifiable events (e.g., hospitalizations, arrests), (2) established measures of alcohol-related disabilities, (3) collateral informants' reports of the subjects' drinking; and (4) blood alcohol readings.

(1) Studies that have compared self-reports of drinking-related events with official records generally indicate a high degree of correspondence for both duration and incidence data.

(2) Biochemical studies have found that abnormal liver functioning and two biochemical tests of liver function are related to heavy drinking as reported on the TLFB.

(3) Correlations between TLFB alcohol use data with scores on the Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS) and the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST) provide further evidence for the validity of the TLFB method.

(3) Positive correlations have also been found in clinical studies that compared client and collateral reports of the clients' drinking.

(4) Reports of recent alcohol use when the individual has not been drinking correlate with readings using breath alcohol testers.

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 14 July 2004