, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 365-374

Influence of subject and interviewer characteristics on the reliability of young adults' self-reports of drinking

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Abstract

The influence of subject and interviewer characteristics on the reliability of self-reports of alcohol consumption among young adults was investigated. Data were gathered from black and white college students of both sexes (N's=24) using a time-line procedure. The results snowed that these young adults provided highly reliable self-reports regarding their use of alcohol. Test-retest correlations for a criterion interval of 90 days were .96, .93, and .97 for the numbers of abstinent, moderate-drinking, and heavy-drinking days, respectively. Analyses also showed that white female subjects generally provided more reliable reports of abstinent and heavy-drinking days and that white female interviewers gathered more reliable reports across the three drinking disposition categories. These findings suggest that nonalcoholic young adults' retrospective reports of their drinking behavior can be reliably assessed using the time-line methodology. Future research is required to determine the validity of these self-reports and to understand the differential influence of subject and interviewer characteristics on the levels of reliability found.