About This Product
BY KEN C. WINTERS, PHD
The Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire for Adults (PESQ-A) gives substance abuse and community health professionals preliminary information about an individual’s drug abuse patterns. This brief, standardized self-report measure also identifies psychosocial problems that often accompany substance abuse. It helps service providers and law enforcement personnel make appropriate referrals for more complete evaluation of substance abuse and related mental health issues.
Appropriate for use with people ages 19 and older, the PESQ-A can be administered and hand scored in just 10 to 12 minutes. Because it is easy to score and interpret, the scale can be used by a wide range of health professionals.
The PESQ-A has three parts:
- Problem Severity
- Defensiveness and Psychosocial Indicators
- Recent Drug Use
The Problem Severity section includes 25 items about the client’s current substance use. The Defensiveness and Psychosocial Indicators section consists of 10 items related to social and emotional adjustment and 5 items that assess the respondent’s tendency to “fake good.” The Recent Drug Use section records the respondent’s drug and alcohol use over the previous year.
Raw scores can be quickly obtained and compared with referral criteria. Interpreting results is simply a matter of checking that the protocol is valid, examining the Problem Severity Score to determine the presence of a substance abuse problem, and scrutinizing responses to the Defensiveness and Psychosocial Indicators and Recent Drug Use items. Normative data are based on three samples: 895 drug clinic clients, 410 criminal offenders, and 690 nonclinical participants.
The PESQ-A is a screening instrument, not a diagnostic tool. It is ideal for initial assessment of individuals with suspected drug or alcohol problems and for use in epidemiological surveys estimating the prevalence of substance abuse within a given community. In research settings, it can be used to define groups (based on the Problem Severity score) or to evaluate treatment outcomes.
More and more adults are entering treatment having abused multiple psychoactive substances. Consequently, service providers must expand their screening and treatment referral strategies. The PESQ-A is specifically designed to provide greater scope in screening for the varied problems related to substance abuse.