Grades 9-12. Based on the theoretical model of the How I Think (HIT) Questionnaire, this research-based, 54-item assessment tool measures adolescents’ behaviors and attitudes related to drug use. The HIT – D&A requires only a fourth-grade reading level and can be completed by most adolescents in 5 to 10 minutes. It provides information on the type and degree of drug use, impact of drugs on the adolescent’s life, normative levels of soft and hard drug use, abuse and dependence symptoms, and how adolescents rationalize the use of drugs through self-serving cognitive distortions such as self-centered, blaming others, minimizing/mislabeling, and assuming the worst. The How I Think about Drugs and Alcohol Questionnaire is accompanied by a 68-page manual that includes scoring and computation instructions and forms. The HIT – D&A is useful in assessment, treatment planning, tracking therapeutic progress, and individual- or program-level outcome evaluation.
The HIT-D&A Questionnaire can be used in a variety of situations that call for the assessment of adolescents’ drug-related behaviors and/or attitudes. In certain situations, such as primary care settings or school counselor offices, the HIT-D&A is brief enough to function as a screener when the client and clinician wish to evaluate the possibility of a referral for drug treatment. In other situations, such as mental health clinics or drug treatment centers, the HIT-D&A is comprehensive and detailed enough to be used as an integral part of a full clinical evaluation of an adolescent’s drug problem.
In addition to its utility as a clinical tool for assessment and outcomes evaluation, the HIT-D&A should prove to be a practical research instrument. The field of adolescent drug use desperately needs reliable and valid measures of key constructs in order to propel the field forward. With one brief measure, researchers can assess drug use as well as related symptoms and attitudes. For example, the HIT-D&A could be used to investigate the complicated relationships that likely exist between drug-related attitudes and behaviors. Attitudes that support drug use may someday provide predictive validity for the later development of drug problems before the onset of drug use has even occurred. Such attitudes may also someday help to predict drug use continuation, progression, desistance, quality of response to treatment, differential responses to different types of treatments, and likelihood of relapse after treatment. The HIT-D&A can further be used to evaluate developmental claims regarding the progression of use from soft to hard drugs, or from experimentation to abuse and then dependence. Such a developmental progression could even be investigated with regard to the role of attitudes in shaping different developmental trajectories.