Two screening instruments for collecting alcohol‐related information from expectant mothers and fathers: Testing the reliability of the Parent Alcohol Screening Questionnaire and the Social Support for an Alcohol‐Free Pregnancy Questionnaire

Hjördis Högberg, Petra Pålsson, Fredrik Spak, Margareta Larsson, Michael B. Wells

What is known about this topic

  • Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects
  • Alcoholism can also have adverse consequences for the baby and the whole family
  • Screening expectant mothers for alcohol consumption is routine, but little dialogue takes place around their consumption

What this paper adds

  • Both the Parent Alcohol Screening Questionnaire and the Social Support for an Alcohol‐free Pregnancy are shown to be reliable tools for expectant mothers and fathers during early and late pregnancy
  • These tools can be used to help clinicians initiate a dialogue with both expectant mothers and fathers about their alcohol consumption and their received social supports


The aim is to test the reliability of two alcohol screening instruments: (1) The Parent Alcohol Screening Questionnaire (PASQ5), and (2) the Social Support for an Alcohol‐free Pregnancy (SSAFP) questionnaire. This is a cohort study from the south of Sweden using repeated surveys during pregnancy. To examine if responses differed according to different data collection methods, two cohorts consisting of 289 expectant mothers and 141 fathers completed the PASQ5 both verbally (weeks 6–7) and in writing (week 12) within regular antenatal visits. One of the cohorts (n = 137/64) also completed the SSAFP in week 12 and later in week 33. The third cohort, consisting of 179 and 133 expectant mothers and fathers, respectively, completed the PASQ5 and the SSAFP twice in late pregnancy (week 31 + 33).

Eight of 10 items in the PASQ5 were stable for both expectant mothers and expectant fathers when comparing verbal versus written‐delivered formats. Eight of 10 questions in the PASQ5 were stable when assessing the items in a test–retest analysis in late pregnancy for expectant mothers and nine of 10 questions were stable for fathers. The SSAFP items showed high internal consistency (0.86) for expectant mothers and excellent internal consistency (0.94) for expectant fathers. Most SSAFP items (17 of 21 for expectant mothers and 18 of 22 for expectant fathers) were also stable in a test–retest scenario in late pregnancy.

Both the PASQ5 and SSAFP are reliable tools and may be helpful for clinicians who aim to have a deeper dialogue about alcohol consumption during pregnancy. These tools may also be helpful for researchers aiming to better understand a person’s changes in alcohol intake and/or their social support network.

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