Faculty Articles

Non-daily drinkers score higher on the Alcohol Dependence Scale than daily drinkers.

Linda D. Wood
Linda C. Sobell, Nova Southeastern University
Mark B. Sobell, Nova Southeastern University
Liane Dorheim
Sangeeta Agrawal


To evaluate the relationship between drinking pattern and alcohol dependence severity, 209 individuals voluntarily seeking treatment for alcohol problems were administered the Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS), the Short Alcohol Dependence Data (SADD) questionnaire, and a 12-month Timeline Follow-Back (TLFB) drinking assessment as part of their pretreatment assessment. Based on their TLFB data, participants were divided into two groups: daily (DD, n=84) and nondaily (NDD, n=125) drinkers. The two groups were compared on several demographic and drinking variables. It was hypothesized that DD would have higher scores on measures of alcohol dependence than NDD. However, the reverse pattern was found. The NDD had significantly higher ADS scores than the DD. An analysis of ADS subscale scores indicated that the primary difference between the two groups was in the domain of loss of behavior control. It is suggested that NDD may perceive intoxication as more impairing, perhaps because they have acquired less tolerance than DD. These results suggest that treatment focused on restoring a sense of behavior control would be beneficial for NDD.