Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST)

Screens patients for signs of alcoholism and stratifies the severity of alcoholism problems.

In the text below the calculator you can find more information on the assessment method and examples of other alcoholism evaluations.

The Michigan alcohol screening test focuses on alcohol abuse signs in order to determine the presence and severity of alcoholism symptoms.

There are three categories of results, as summarized in the table below:

MAST score Interpretation
0 - 3 No apparent alcoholism problems
4 Early or middle alcoholism
5 – 49 (or above) Aggravated alcoholism diagnosis.

There is concern that with the severe alcoholism cut off point set at 5 points, the MAST scoring system tends to screen more subjects in the alcoholism range.

1Do you feel you are a normal drinker? ('normal' - drink as much or less than most other people)
2Have you ever awakened the morning after some drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?
3Does any near relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your drinking?
4Can you stop drinking without a struggle after one or two drinks?
5Do you ever feel guilty about your drinking?
6Do friends or relatives think you are a normal drinker?
7Are you able to stop drinking when you want to?
8Have you ever attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?
9Have you ever gotten into physical fights when drinking?
10Has drinking ever created problems between you and a near relative or close friend?
11Has any family member or close friend gone to anyone for help about your drinking?
12Have you ever lost friends because of your drinking?
13Have you ever gotten into trouble at work or school because of drinking?
14Have you ever lost a job because of drinking?
15Have you ever neglected your obligations, your family, or your work for two or more days in a row because you were drinking?
16Do you drink before noon fairly often?
17Have you ever been told you have liver trouble such as cirrhosis?
18After heavy drinking have you ever had delirium tremens (D.T.'s), severe shaking, visual or auditory (hearing) hallucinations?
19Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking?
20Have you ever been hospitalized because of drinking?
21Has your drinking ever resulted in you being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward?
22Have you ever gone to any doctor, social worker, clergyman or mental health clinic for help with any emotional problem in which drinking was part of the problem?
23Have you been arrested more than once for driving under the influence of alcohol? (If Yes, how many times)
24Have you ever been arrested, even for a few hours because of other behavior while drinking? (If Yes, how many times)
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MAST explained

The Michigan alcohol screening test (MAST) was first published by Professor Selzer in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1971.

The tool aims to screen a variety of populations for alcoholism and alcohol abuse and was found to have an effectiveness rate of up to 98%.

The test consists of 24 “yes” or “no” questions and can be self administered. The questions are constructed in such way to allow not only an evaluation of the subject but also to allow the subject to visualize the extent in which their alcohol use impacts on lifestyle, social and family situations.

MAST has been criticised in terms of its length (making it hard to be used as screening tool in emergency settings) and in terms of its applicability for detection of early alcohol abuse (as most questions refer to an undefined time period, rather than present).


Score interpretation

MAST questions are answered with either yes or no and carry weights of 1, 2 or 5 points. Questions considered to have a high discriminating power are awarded 5 points.

This alcoholism screening tool may appear fairly complex to score because the weight of each item depends on whether the wording is positive or negative.

For items 1, 4, 6 and 7, an answer of “no” will be awarded the relevant number of points whilst for questions 2, 3, 5 and 9 to 22, an answer of “yes” will be awarded points.

Items 23, 24 ask about number of arrests, and if the case, this number is to be multiplied by 3.

The table below introduces the score interpretation:

MAST score Interpretation
0 - 3 No apparent alcoholism problems
4 Early or middle alcoholism
5 – 49 (or above) Aggravated alcoholism diagnosis.

The cut-off value associated with severe alcoholism is set at 5 points. This has made critics argue that there is a tendency of MAST to screen more subjects in the alcoholism range.


Alcohol screening tools

Beside MAST, there are other alcoholism evaluation tools, three of which are introduced below:

■ CRAFFT screening test: Detects alcohol and drug abuse based on habits and risk factors, in adolescent subjects.

■ AUDIT-C test (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption): Screens for alcoholism based on alcohol related habits.

■ FAST screening test: Short 4-question test, based on AUDIT-C and focused on hazardous drinking with most common application in emergency rooms.


Original reference

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

Other references

1. Teitelbaum L, Mullen B. Validity of the MAST in psychiatric settings: A META-analytic integration. Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 2000; 61(2):254-261.

2. Maisto SA, Connors GJ, Allen JP. Contrasting self-report screens for alcohol problems: A review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 1995; 19(6):1510-1516.

Specialty: Miscellaneous

Objective: Screening

Type: Test

No. Of Items: 24

Year Of Study: 1971

Abbreviation: MAST

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: August 28, 2017

Last Checked: August 28, 2017

Next Review: August 28, 2023