Validation of hair ethyl glucuronide using transdermal monitoring and self-reported alcohol use in women of childbearing potential

Andrea L. Blair, Ashleigh L. Chiaf, Erica K. Crockett, Tracy Kent Teague, Julie M. Croff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aim: The present study aimed to evaluate the validity of hair ethyl glucuronide concentrations compared with transdermal alcohol concentration and self-reported alcohol use. Methods: This trial included 25 adolescent and young adult females, aged 16-24, who reported at least one heavy drinking episode (≥4 drinks) in the two weeks prior to baseline. All participants were asked to wear an alcohol biosensor over a one-month prospective study. Detailed self-report of drinking behaviors was assessed weekly. Estimates of blood alcohol concentration were computed from self-report data using the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration equation. Transdermal alcohol concentration and estimated blood alcohol concentration data were categorized into at-risk (>0.05 g/dL alcohol) and high-risk (>0.08 g/dL alcohol) drinking events. Hair ethyl glucuronide concentration, total number of drinking events, moderate (>0.05 g/dL) and high level (>0.08 g/dL) of transdermal alcohol concentration, and estimated blood alcohol concentration drinking events were analyzed with Spearman's rank correlation test for validity comparisons. Results: No significant correlations were found between hair ethyl glucuronide values and total number, and moderate or high levels of detected drinking events by estimated blood alcohol concentration or transdermal alcohol concentration. Total number of drinking events detected and number of drinking events >0.08 g/dL using estimated blood alcohol concentration and transdermal alcohol concentration methods were significantly correlated with each other (respectively, R =.33, P <.05; R =.42, P <.05). Conclusion: Our findings indicate that, due to the number of false negatives, hair ethyl glucuronide concentrations should be used with caution for monitoring abstinence from alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • alcohol
  • biosensor
  • ethyl glucuronide
  • hair EtG
  • transdermal


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