Translating the Semi-Structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism in the Western Pacific: Rationale, Study Design and Reliability of Alcohol Dependence

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Aims: The aims of this study were to develop a bilingual version of the Semi-Structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism (SSADDA) in English and Samoan and determine the reliability of assessments of alcohol dependence in American Samoa. Methods: The study consisted of development and reliability-testing phases. In the development phase, the SSADDA alcohol module was translated and the translation was evaluated through cognitive interviews. In the reliability-testing phase, the bilingual SSADDA was administered to 40 ethnic Samoans, including a sub-sample of 26 individuals who were retested. Results: Cognitive interviews indicated the initial translation was culturally and linguistically appropriate except items pertaining to alcohol tolerance, which were modified to reflect Samoan concepts. SSADDA reliability testing indicated diagnoses of DSM-III-R and DSM-IV alcohol dependence were reliable. Reliability varied by language of administration. Conclusion: The English/Samoan version of the SSADDA is appropriate for the diagnosis of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence, which may be useful in advancing research and public health efforts to address alcohol problems in American Samoa and the Western Pacific. The translation methods may inform researchers translating diagnostic and assessment tools into different languages and cultures.

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