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Comprehensive Health Assessment for Teens (CHAT)


CHAT is a multidimensional web-based assessment designed to measure the severity and frequency of adolescent substance use.

Through an interactive, multimedia format, CHAT uses a biopsychosocial approach to assess the severity and frequency of substance use, as well as factors that precipitate or trigger substance use in adolescents. Questions are designed to measure six core domains, including drug use, alcohol use, tobacco use, psychological health, family relationships, and peer relationships. Users are guided through the assessment by virtual hosts.

Link to commercial site here.

Web-Based (computer and tablet)

Theoretical Approaches:

Target Substance(s):

Target Outcome(s):
Assess severity
Assess frequency
Assist in treatment planning
Monitor substance use outcomes

Adolescents (11-17)


African American
Native American
Asian American

Adolescent Addiction Treatment Program
High Schools

Geographic Location:



  • CHAT: Development and validation of a computer-delivered, self-report, substance use assessment for adolescents.

    Lord SE, Trudeau KJ, Black RA, Lorin L, Cooney E, Villapiano A, Butler SF. Substance Use and Misuse. 2011. 46(6):781-794. PMID: 21174498.

    Summary: This article describes two studies completed to develop and validate the Comprehensive Health Assessment for Teens (CHAT). In the initial study, online surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted with adolescent addiction specialists. These surveys and interviews were used to generate initial items, which were further evaluated by addiction specialists. After generating an initial pool of items, feedback from adolescents was given through focus groups and pilot tests. The CHAT was initially validated with a sample of 192 adolescents selected from an urban high school and an adolescent substance abuse treatment program.

    Results from the initial validation were used to further refine CHAT. To examine the reliability and validity of the revised CHAT, a sample of 394 adolescents were enrolled in a validity study. Participants were selected from substance abuse treatment programs and public high schools. While all participants completed the CHAT and the Personal Experience Inventory (PEI), 48 participants completed the CHAT again, two to eight days after the initial assessment. This additional information was used to calculate test-retest reliability. Results showed that the CHAT subscales had adequate to excellent internal consistency, ranging from 0.48 (drug use), to 0.92 (alcohol use). Test re-test reliability was acceptable, with correlations ranging from 0.35 (family relationships), to 0.90 (peer relationships). To measure convergent and discriminant validity, responses to CHAT items were compared to similar items on the PEI. Results of these analyses demonstrated that the CHAT domains have satisfactory convergent and discriminant validity.

    Take Away: Initial psychometric evaluation indicates that the CHAT is a psychometrically sound measure of severity and frequency of substance use and related problems for adolescents.