Revising the cannabis use disorders identification test (CUDIT) by means of item response theory

Beatrice Annaheim, Thomas J. Scotto, Gerhard Gmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Cannabis use among adolescents and young adults has become a major public health challenge. Several European countries are currently developing short screening instruments to identify 'problematic' forms of cannabis use in general population surveys. One such instrument is the Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test (CUDIT), a 10-item questionnaire based on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Previous research found that some CUDIT items did not perform well psychometrically. In the interests of improving the psychometric properties of the CUDIT, this study replaces the poorly performing items with new items that specifically address cannabis use. Analyses are based on a sub-sample of 558 recent cannabis users from a representative population sample of 5722 individuals (aged 13-32) who were surveyed in the 2007 Swiss Cannabis Monitoring Study. Four new items were added to the original CUDIT. Psychometric properties of all 14 items, as well as the dimensionality of the supplemented CUDIT were then examined using Item Response Theory. Results indicate the unidimensionality of CUDIT and an improvement in its psychometric performance when three original items (usual hours being stoned; injuries; guilt) are replaced by new ones (motives for using cannabis; missing out leisure time activities; difficulties at work/school). However, improvements were limited to cannabis users with a high problem score. For epidemiological purposes, any further revision of CUDIT should therefore include a greater number of 'easier' items.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • cannabis
  • cannabis abuse
  • cannabis addiction


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