Preference-based utility ratings for health conditions are important components of cost–utility analyses and population burden of disease estimates. However, utility ratings for alcohol problems have not been determined.
The objectives of this study were to directly measure utility ratings for a spectrum of alcohol-related health states and to compare different methods of utility measurement.
Design, Setting, and Subjects:
The authors conducted a cross-sectional interview of 200 adults from a clinic and community sample.
Subjects completed computerized visual analog scale (VAS), time tradeoff (TTO), and standard gamble (SG) utility measurement exercises for their current health, a blindness scenario, and for 6 alcohol-related health state scenarios presented in random order. The main outcome measures were the utility ratings, scaled from 0 to 1, and anchored by death (0) and perfect health (1).
The 200 subjects were middle-aged (mean, 41 ± 14 years), 61% women, and racially diverse (48% black, 43% white). Utility ratings decreased as the severity of the alcohol-related health state increased, but differed significantly among the VAS, TTO, and SG methods within each health state. Adjusted mean (95% confidence interval) utility ratings for alcohol dependence (VAS, 0.38 [0.34–0.41]; TTO, 0.54 [0.48–0.60]; SG, 0.68 [0.63–0.73]) and alcohol abuse (VAS, 0.53 [0.49–0.56]; TTO, 0.71 [0.65–77]; SG, 0.76 [0.71–0.81]) were significantly lower than utility ratings for nondrinking, moderate drinking, at-risk drinking, current health, and blindness.
Utility ratings for alcohol-related health states decrease as the severity of alcohol use increases. The low utility ratings for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are similar to those reported for other severe chronic medical conditions.