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Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test

Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test

What is MAST

The Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST) was devised to provide a consistent, quantifiable, structured interview instrument for the detection of alcoholism that could be rapidly administered by nonprofessional as well as professional personnel. The MAST consists of 25 questions, many of which have also been used by other investigators in surveys of alcoholism. Some of the questions are sufficiently neutral that persons reluctant to see themselves as problem drinkers may reveal their alcoholic affliction. Questions related to amounts of alcohol consumed were not used because of the vague responses they evoke. Where the MAST is used for screening purposes, clinical confirmation may occasionally be required.

MAST Printable PDF

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MAST Scoring and Interpretation

The MAST contain 25 items (0-24) with weighted scoring as follows: zero point, 1 item (Item 0); one point, 4 items (Items 3, 5, 9 and 16); two points, 16 items (Items 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24); five points, 4 items (Items 8, 18, 19, 20). In addition, two of the items are scored for the number of times the event occurred, so that the subject has a score of five for each episode of delirium tremens (Item 18) and a score of 2 for each alcohol arrest (Items 23 and 24).

Negative responses are alcoholsc responses for items 1, 4, 6 and 7.

A score of three points or less was considered nonalcoholic, a score of four points was suggestive of alcoholism, and a score of five points or more indicated alcoholism.

In general, five points or more would place the subject in alcoholic category. Four points would be suggestive of alcoholism, and three points or fewer would indicate the subject is not alcoholic.

PsyPack can automatically score the MAST assessment and prepare corresponding tables and graphs.

MAST sample result

Sample Report of MAST


Alcohol Use

What does MAST measure

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • detect alcoholism.



Type of outcome tool


Assessment modes


Age and eligibility

19 years and above

Estimated time

About 15 minutes


Since the questionnaire relies on client self-report, all responses should be verified by the clinician, and a definitive diagnosis is made on clinical grounds taking into account how well the client understood the questionnaire, as well as other relevant information from the client.

A major concern of any questionnaire that relies on the responses of alcoholics is the alcoholic’s penchant for denial. Hence, there is a possibility of false negative results. A fruitful area for improving screening results appeared to be inclusion of charges for drunk driving or drunk and disorderly behavior. In many jurisdictions, such arrests are in the public domain and are readily documented. Hence it is suggested that, for maximal screening effectiveness, the MAST and arrest records be used conjointly.

Attribution and References

Selzer, M.L. (1971). The Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST): The quest for a new diagnostic instrument. American Journal of Psychiatry, 127, 1653-1658.