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Comparison of Actual and Perceived Problem Drinking Among Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education Volume: 55 Issue: 1 Dated: April 2011 Pages: 53-69
Adam E. Barry, Ph.D.; Maurice Dennis, Ph.D.
Date Published
April 2011
17 pages
This study presents the rate and severity of problem drinking among a sample of DWI offenders.
Problem drinkers account for a large proportion of those convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Nevertheless, specific rates of problem drinking among DWI offenders have been shown to exhibit wide variability. Therefore, the authors seek to (a) present the rate and severity of problem drinking among a sample of DWI offenders, (b) contrast offender-perceived proportion of problem drinking against two separate indicators of problem drinking, and (c) determine demographic characteristics affecting the likelihood an offender would self-identify as a problem drinker. The sample consisted of DWI offenders (n=199) participating in a court-mandated education program. Results highlight a significant discrepancy between DWI offenders "perceptions of their drinking problems, compared to other, more objective measures. The objective measures revealed that offenders were much more likely to be problem drinkers than shown by self-ratings. These stark differences highlight potential focus/refinement areas for DWI rehabilitative programs. (Published Abstract)