HIV risk behavior self-report reliability at different recall periods

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

UAA's Mark Johnson of the Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, along with L.E. Napper, D.G. Fisher and G.L. Reynolds at California State University, Long Beach recently published a study about the reliability of self-reporting on high-risk sex and drug-use behaviors. "HIV risk behavior self-report reliability at different recall periods" was posted online in May 2009 and published in AIDS and Behavior in February 2010.

Few studies have investigated the optimal length of recall period for self-report of sex and drug-use behaviors. This meta-analysis of 28 studies examined the test-retest reliability of three commonly used recall periods: one month, three months and six months. All three recall periods demonstrated acceptable test-retest reliability, with the exception of recall of needle sharing behaviors and six-month recall of some sex behaviors. For most sex behaviors, a recall period of three months was found to produce the most reliable data; however, six months was best for recalling number of sex partners. Overall, shorter periods were found to be more reliable for recall of drug-use behaviors, though the most reliable length of recall period varied for different types of drugs. Implications of the findings and future directions for research are discussed.

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