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Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire

User Information



Author/Developer / Address:

Ken Winters, Ph.D.
Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse.
Department of Psychiatry. University of Minnesota
Box 393, Mayo Building. Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 626-2879. winte001@tc.umn.edu

Publication dates:


Description / Type of Assessment:

PESQ is a 40-item fixed-format self-report questionnaire that screens for the need for further assessment of drug use disorders. It provides a "red or green flag problem" severity score and a brief overview of psychosocial problems, drug use frequency, and faking tendencies.

Primary use / Purpose:

To provide at a screening level an indication of the need for a comprehensive drug use evaluation and to briefly screen for select psychosocial problems and faking good and faking bad tendencies.

Domains measured / Life Areas / Problems Assessed:

Drug use problem severity (18 items)
Psychosocial problem (8 items)
Drug use frequency and onset (6 items)
Faking tendencies (8 items):
Defensiveness (faking-good: 8 items)
Infrequency (faking bad: 3 items).


Adolescents with suspected of abusing alcohol or other drugs. Fourth grade reading level.

Administration / Completion Time:

10 minutes.

Scoring Procedures:

Hand scoring instructions are provided in the questionnaire booklet.

Scoring Time:

3 minutes.


PESQ is appropriate for use by a range of health professionals.

Source of Psychometrics:

Winters, K.C. The Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire Manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services, 1991.
Winters, K.C. Development of an adolescent substance abuse screening questionnaire. Addictive Behaviors 17:479-490, 1992.
Ken Winters, Ph.D. See address above.


English and Spanish versions are available.

Availability /


Ken Winters, Ph.D. See address above
Tony Gerard, Ph.D.
Senior Project Director. Western Psychological Services
12031 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 478-2061


PESQ is copyrighted.
$70.00 per PESQ Kit (including manual and 25 tests)
$42.50 per manual
$25.20-$29.50 per package of 25 test forms (cost depends on size of order).

Practicability / usefulness:

PESQ can be a useful screening tool for any evaluation setting that screens or pre-assesses teenagers for alcohol and other drug problems. This includes treatment programs, schools, courts, juvenile detention centres and mental health and medical clinics.
The PESQ is useful in pre-assessment or short intake settings to determine if the teenager's suspected substance use warrants a referral for a more competent assessment. When the PESQ indicates a positive finding, another assessment instruments (such the ADI and PEI or another) can be used to assist in constructing a comprehensive assessment picture of the client.


PESQ should not be used as a replacement for a comprehensive assessment.


Page last updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004