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Problem Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers (POSIT)

From: Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Youth: Screening for Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Youth (© 2009, CAMH)

Download and read the PDF.

Brief Description

The POSIT is a multidimensional tool intended to identify adolescents needing further assessment in problem substance use and nine other functional areas. The other nine areas are:

  • physical health
  • mental health
  • family relations
  • peer relations
  • educational status
  • vocational status
  • social skills
  • leisure and recreation
  • aggressive/delinquent behaviour.

The POSIT is made up of 139 yes/no questions that explore current functioning. The substance use/abuse scale has been the subject of most of the attention for criterion-related validation and other psychometric testing. It is made up of 17 items. A briefer 11-item version has been developed.

A follow-up questionnaire is also available and can be used as a descriptive measure in program evaluation.

Appropriate target populations

The POSIT has been tested in substance use, mental health, corrections and medical settings. It is aimed at adolescents aged 12 to 19 and with at least a fifth grade reading level. The scale has been adapted for use with Latin American Spanish and Portuguese-speaking populations.

Administration options

Formats available

_X_ self-administered (paper-and-pencil)

_X_ self-administered (computer)

___ clinician-administered

Time required

Twenty to 30 minutes.

Languages available

_X_ English

___ French

_X_ Other (Spanish, Portuguese)

Accessibility and cost

_X_ no charge for use

___ use requires permission of test developer

___ use requires special training and/or professional or academic credentials

___ fee for use

Where to Access

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
P.O. Box 2345
Rockville, MD 20847-2345


Elizabeth Rahdert, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 10A-10
Rockville, MD 20857
(301) 443-0107

PDF available from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Computerized version

PowerTrain, Inc.
8201 Corporate Drive
Suite 1080
Landover, MD 20785
(301) 731-0900

Summary of test development data

Quality of reporting

High, based on STARD rating (see Appendix, p. 76).

Summary of validity and Reliability Data