260228 From Conceptualization to Operationalization: Evaluation of Alcohol Consumption in Pregnant Women

Monday, October 29, 2012

Margaret L. Walsh, MPH , College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
The negative health effects due to alcohol consumption during pregnancy are well documented for both mother and developing child. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is only one of the potential outcomes due to maternal ingestion of alcohol. However, there continues to be complexity in moving from a conceptual definition of alcohol consumption to one that is operationalized and able to be accurately measured. Current measurement instruments that are used to assess alcohol use, frequency, patterns, and amount have yet to be evaluated and tested for use with pregnant women. Screening instruments that are used with pregnant women who have been deemed at-risk of consuming alcohol have also not been validated. Biological measures of mother and child are additional instruments that may be useful. Yet, the need for an assessment tool to screen all pregnant women for the risk of alcohol consumption during pregnancy is necessary. A review of current measurements, screening instruments, and conceptual definitions conducted clearly show a need for instruments that measure the following: amount of alcohol consumed, frequency, time-reference period, and dosage of alcohol used, in reference to the stages of pregnancy, as being vital for health professionals to intervene at the most critical stages of fetal development. Additional practice-based recommendations concerning screening and prevention methods are detailed for health care professionals working with women at risk of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Compare and contrast current alcohol screening methods used with pregnant women. 2. Explore the inherent complexities in attempting to operationalize a conceptual definition. 3. Evaluate future recommendations for innovative screening methods.

Keywords: Alcohol, Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the literature and instrumentation review and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.