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The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory-3 (SASSI-3)

Brief Description:
• Miller, Roberts, Brooks, & Lazowski (1997)
• Third version of the original scale by Miller (1985)
• Based upon an indirect approach to screening for substance use dependence

• English

Type of Measure:
• Structured interview
• 2-sided sheet of paper: Side one contains 67 true/false items; side two contains 12 alcohol related items and 14 drug related items using a 4-point Likert scale (Never, Once or Twice, Several Times, Repeatedly)
• Side one has 8 subscales: correctional (COR), defensiveness (DEF), family vs. control subjects (FAM), obvious attributes (OAT), random answering patter (RAP), supplemental addiction measure (SAM), subtle attributes (SAT), and symptoms of substance misuse (SYM).
• Side two has 2 subscales: face-valid alcohol (FVA) and face-valid other drug (FVOD).
• Takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, score, and interpret

Target Population:
• Adults

• Subscales totalled
• Nine decision rules determine a high or low probability of substance dependence.

Clements (2002): 248 students from a Midwestern state university in the U.S.A.; Main focus was on alcohol dependence
• Reliability: Cronbach’s alpha for SYM = 0.75, OAT = 0.55, SAT = 0.08, DEF = 0.56, SAM = 0.30, FAM = 0.34, COR = 0.65, RAP = 0.03, FVA = 0.86, and FVOD = 0.92.
• Validity: Using a cut-score of 4, sensitivity = 0.89 and specificity = 0.77 for the FVA subscale against the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

Laux et al. (2005): 230 students at a midwestern university in the U.S.A.; Calculated only the FVA, SYM, and OAT subscales, with particular focus on the FVA subscale
• Reliability: Cronbach’s alpha for the FVA subscale = 0.92, comparable to alpha’s for the MAST (0.82) and the CAGE (0.74); FVA median item-to-scale correlation was 0.73.
• Validity: Test-retest after 1 week for SASSI-3’s FVA subscale was r = 0.94, comparable to MAST (Michigan Alcohol Screening Test) (r = 0.97) and Mac-R (items from the Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory-2) (r = 0.73) scores; Concurrent validity: SASSI-3 and MAST agreed on 83% of cases (kappa coefficient = 0.52), SASSI-3 and CAGE agreed on 82% of cases (kappa coefficient = 0.49), and SASSI-3 and Mac-R agreed on 76% of cases (kappa coefficient = 0.29).
• FVA subscale unifactorial

Utility for Prevalence Surveys:
• Untested but potentially good (face valid scales only)

Research Applicability:
• Face validity scales have good potential

Copyright, Cost, and Source Issues:
• May be purchased from:

Original reference:
Miller, F. G., Roberts, J., Brooks, M. K., & Lazowski, L. E. (1997). SASSI-3 user’s guide. Bloomington, IN: Baugh Enterprises, Inc.

Source reference:
Clements, R. (2002). Psychometric properties of the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory - 3. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 23(4), 419-423.

Supporting reference:
Laux, J. M., Salyers, K. M., & Kotova, E. (2005). A psychometric evaluation of the SASSI-3 in a college sample. Journal of College Counseling, 8(1), 41-51.

• Used with a variety of populations: inmates, college students, people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, domestic violence offenders, individuals with brain injury, etc.

• Costly
• Subtle scales are weak