Operational definitions of alcohol dependence and associated factor structures

Raul Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper examines the impact of three different operational definitions of alcohol dependence on analyses of the factor structure of that concept. Data came from a sample of 219 men interviewed while in treatment for alcohol problems. The first operational definition was created with 20 items previously used in the literature and which are thought to represent the elements of dependence in the DSM-III-R criteria. In the second operational definition, the 20 items composing the first definition are combined under each of nine elements approximating the DSM-III-R criteria and thus analyzed. Finally, in the third operational definition, rather than using traditional items, the elements of the syndrome are defined by new items with wording close to that found in the DSM-III-R criteria. Results show variations ranging from a dual factor to a five-factor structure depending on the operational definition being analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-707
Number of pages11
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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