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Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index

User Information



Author/Developer / Address:

Helene Raskin White, Ph.D.
Erich Labouvie, Ph.D.
Center of Alcohol Studies. Rutgers University
P.O. Box 969. Piscataway, NJ 08855-0969
(732) 445-3579

Publication dates:


Description / Type of Assessment:

RAPI is a 23-item self-administered screening tool (questionnaire) for assessing adolescent problem drinking. Respondents simply circle the number that corresponds to the number of times they have experienced each problem. Items can also be read aloud by an interviewer to clients with reading difficulties or it can be used as a springboard for a discussion of problems related to the client's alcohol use.

Primary use / Purpose:

To screen for adolescent drinking problems. RAPI was developed to create a conceptually sound, unidimensional, relatively brief, and easily administered instrument to assess problem drinking in adolescence.

Domains measured / Life Areas / Problems Assessed:

Negative consequences of drinking.


Adolescents with 7th grade of reading level.

Administration / Completion Time:

Ten minutes or less.

Scoring Procedures:

The coded numbers (0-4) are added together across items to form a scale ranging from 0 to 69. It can be normed on any sample. In a clinical sample (age 14 to 18) means ranged from 21 to 25 and in a nonclinical sample (age 15 to 18) means ranged from 4 to 8 depending upon age and sex.

Scoring Time:

Three minutes.


There is no training required for the administrator.

Source of Psychometrics:

Helene Raskin White, Ph.D. See address above.

Its empirical development involved factor analyses conducted of test-retest data on frequencies of a total of 53 symptoms and/or consequences of alcohol use, as reported by a nonclinical sample of 1308 males and females. The resulting 23-item scale has a reliability of .92 and a 3-year stability coefficient of .40 for the total sample.



Availability / Inquiries:

Helene Raskin White, Ph.D. See address above.


It is free, and there is no copyright. (The developers request that persons who use RAPI send them their age/sex norms as well as a description of their sample.)

Practicability / usefulness:

The advantages of this short, self-administered screening tool are its ease of administration and its standardization, which make it possible to compare problem drinking scores across groups. The RAPI is appropriate for use in clinical and non-clinical samples of adolescents and young adults. The RAPI can be used to assess the level of problem drinking among adolescents and young adults in substance misuse treatment. It can be also a part of a clinical interview in which the clinician addresses each problem related to drinking with client, to discuss life disruptions due to drinking and denial of problems. The RAPI can also be used as a research tool.


RAPI is only a measure of adolescent drinking problems, and additional information about intensity of use, motivations for use, and contexts of use is desirable when conducting a full assessment of problem drinking. The time frame for responses can be made smaller (e.g., last year or last 6 months rather than 3 years).

Relevant Studies
Toward the Assessment of Adolescent Problem Drinking.
White, H.R., Labouvie, E.W. Toward the Assessment of Adolescent Problem Drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 50(1), 30-37, (1989).

Longitudinal data were obtained from a nonclinical sample of 1,308 male and female adolescents covering the age range from 12 to 21. Factor analysis of 52 symptoms and / or consequences of alcohol use yielded three problem dimensions. In addition, a unidimensional, 23-item scale (the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index, RAPI) was constructed with an internal consistency of .92. Correlations between RAPI and alcohol-use intensity were moderately strong for all age groups at each test occasion (ranging from .20 to .57), yet low enough to suggest that identification of problem drinkers requires both types of measures. The results suggest that the RAPI may be a useful tool for the standardized and efficient assessment of problem drinking during adolescence.

A Youth-Focused Screening Tool for Alcohol Problems.
White, H.R., Labouvie, E.W., Filstead, W.J., Conlin, J., Pandina, R.J., Parella, D. A Youth-Focused Screening Tool for Alcohol Problems. Assessing Alcohol Problems in clinical and nonclinical adolescent populations. Paper presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism meeting, Isle of Palma, June 1988.

The Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI) was validated in a clinical sample of 119 adolescents and RAPI scores of the clinical sample were compared with those of a nonclinical sample of 718 adolescents. The RAPI was good reliability in both samples. Clinical subjects score significantly higher than nonclinical subjects; thus, the RAPI can discriminate between problem and nonproblem drinking in adolescence. The RAPI is recommended as a clinical and research instrument for screening for adolescent alcohol problems.


Page last updated: Wednesday, 14 July 2004