The Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST) revisited: examining measurement invariance by age

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Defensible use of self-reported cannabis use problem scales in age comparative frameworks requires that measured constructs have equal psychometric properties across age groups. This study compares the psychometric properties of the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST) across three age groups (18–24, 25–29, 30–40). Data was collected online from an accessible sample of 1316 cannabis users. Factor analysis compared the optimal factor structure and dimensionality diffraction. Multi-group Model Invariance tests examined measurement invariance across the three age groups. CAST was two-dimensional in all age groups with one factor measuring cannabis use problems and the other measuring deviation from a common standard of use. The two-dimensional structure was more pronounced in older age groups. Weak factorial invariance was supported, suggesting that the meaning of the CAST factors is equivalent across age groups. Partial, but not full, strong factorial invariance was supported, indicating that only the cannabis use problem factor can be defensibly used to measure age group mean differences. Results confirm a well-defined two-dimensional CAST structure and factorial invariance across age groups. However, caution is needed when using the two items measuring deviation from a common standard in an age-comparative framework. Replication studies based on a representative sample are needed.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere1529
JournalInternational Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • CAST
  • age comparison
  • cannabis
  • measurement invariance
  • psychometrics
  • scale evaluation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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