Validity of the MacAndrew alcoholism scale: racial variations and effects of offender status
Hightower, Nancy Ellen
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The present study investigated the validity of a special alcoholism scale derived from the MMPI, the MacAndrew Alcoholism Scale (MAC). Research has suggested that the MAC is a useful measure for discriminating alcoholics and nonalcoholics in a variety of settings; however, accuracy of classification has differed and consensus has not been reached on moderator variables such as age, sex, race, and offender status. This study was conducted in order to assess the effect of two of these moderator variables, race and offender status, on the MAC scores of alcoholic and nonalcoholic outpatients. Participants in this study were 72 male alcoholic outpatients and 99 male nonalcoholic psychiatric outpatients. Alcoholics and nonalcoholics were further divided according to race (black, white) and offender status (offender, nonoffender). Thus, eight groups were formed: (1) alcoholic, black nonoffenders (ABNO); (2) alcoholic, black offenders (ABO); (3) alcoholic, v;hite nonoffenders (AWNO); (4) alcoholic, white offenders (AWO); (5) nonalcoholic, black nonoffenders (NABNO); (6) nonalcoholic, black offenders (NABO); (7) nonalcoholic, white nonoffenders (NAWNO); and (8) nonalcoholic, white offenders (NAWO). Groups were matched on socioeconomic status. The experimental design was a 2 x 2 x 2 between-groups factorial ANOVA with MAC scores as the dependent variable and abuse status, race, and offender status as independent variables. Black-white differences on the MAC were not observed, suggesting that race is not a moderator variable of MAC performance, at least in matched samples of lower socioeconomic status. Results indicate that offender status is a moderator variable of MAC performance. Alcoholic offenders and alcoholic nonoffenders did not differ significantly on the MAC, either in terms of group mean MAC scores or accurate identification of patients using cutting scores. Nonalcoholic offenders, on the other hand, scored significantly higher than nonalcoholic nonoffenders on the MAC and were less accurately identified by means of MAC cutting scores. Consequently, the MAC was observed to be more successful in discriminating alcoholic and nonalcoholic nonoffenders (73.4%) than it was in differentiating alcoholic and nonalcoholic offenders (63.1%). These findings support the hypothesis that the MAC measures a general dimension of antisociality or acting-out tendency, rather than alcoholism or substance abuse per se.