Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 220–229

Test–Retest Reliability of Self-Reported Sexual Behavior, Sexual Orientation, and Psychosexual Milestones Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youths

  • Eric W. Schrimshaw
  • Margaret Rosario
  • Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg
  • Alice A. Scharf-Matlick
Original Article

Despite the importance of reliable self-reported sexual information for research on sexuality and sexual health, research has not examined reliability of information provided by gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) youths. Test–retest reliability of self-reported sexual behaviors, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and psychosexual developmental milestones was examined among an ethnically diverse sample of 64 self-identified GLB youths. Two face-to-face interviews were conducted approximately 2 weeks apart using the Sexual Risk Behavior Assessment Schedule for Homosexual Youths (SERBAS-Y-HM). Overall, the mean of the test–retest reliability coefficients was substantial for 6 of the 7 domains: lifetime sexual behaviors (M=.89), sexual behavior in the past 3 months (M=.96), unprotected sexual behavior in the past 3 months (M=.93), sexual identity (κ=.89), sexual orientation (M=.82), and ages of various psychosexual developmental milestones (M=.77). Inconsistent reliability was found for reports of sexual behaviors while using substances. A small number of gender differences emerged, with lower reliability among female youths in the lifetime number of same-sex partners. The overall findings suggest that a wide range of self-reported sexual information can be reliably assessed among GLB youths by means of interviewer-administered questionnaires, such as the SERBAS-Y-HM.

KEY WORDS:

reliability sexual behavior condom use sexual identity psychosexual development adolescents. 

REFERENCES

  1. Bartko, J. J. (1966). The intraclass correlation coefficient as a measure of reliability. Psychological Reports, 19, 3–11.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Boekeloo, B. O., Schamus, L. A., Simmens, S. J., & Cheng, T. L. (1998). Ability to measure sensitive adolescent behaviors via telephone. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 14, 209–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brener, N. D., Billy, J. O. G., & Grady, W. R. (2003). Assessment of factors affecting the validity of self-reported health-risk behavior among adolescents: Evidence from the scientific literature. Journal of Adolescent Health, 33, 436–457.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brener, N. D., Collins, J. L., Kann, L., Warren, C. W., & Williams, B. I. (1995). Reliability of the youth risk behavior survey questionnaire. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141, 575–580.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Brener, N. D., Kann, L., McManus, T., Kinchen, S. A., Sundberg, E. C., & Ross, J. G. (2002). Reliability of the 1999 youth risk behavior survey questionnaire. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 336–342.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Catania, J. A., Gibson, D. R., Chitwood, D. D., & Coates, T. J. (1990). Methodological problems in AIDS behavioral research: Influences on measurement error and participation bias in studies of sexual behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 339–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coates, R., Soskolne, C., Clazavara, L., Read, S., Fanning, N., Schpahard, F., et al. (1986). The reliability of sexual histories in AIDS related research: Evaluation of an interview administered questionnaire. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 77, 343–348.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (1968). Weighted kappa: Nominal scale agreement with provision for scaled disagreement or partial credit. Psychological Bulletin, 70, 213–220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Des Jarlais, D. C., Paone, D., Milliken, J., Turner, C. F., Miller, H., Gribble, J., et al. (1999). Audio-computer interviewing to measure risk behaviour for HIV among injecting drug users: A quasi-randomized trial. Lancet, 353, 1657–1662.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dugan, T. M., & Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L. (2003). A training program for sex research interviewers. In D. di Mauro, G. Herdt, & R. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of sexuality research training initiatives (pp. 80–92). New York: Social Science Research Council.Google Scholar
  11. Durant, L. E., & Carey, M. P. (2002). Reliability of retrospective self-reports of sexual and nonsexual health behaviors among women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 331–338.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ellen, J. E., Gurvey, J. E., Pasch, L., Tschann, J., Nanda, J. P., & Catania, J. (2002). A randomized comparisons of A-CASI and phone interviews to assess STD/HIV-related risk behaviors in teens. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 26–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Flisher, A. J., Evans, J., Muller, M., & Lombard, C. (2004). Test–retest reliability of self-reported adolescent risk behavior. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 207–212.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hays, W. L. (1994). Statistics (5th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  15. Hearn, K. D., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Dudley, C. D. (2003). Assessing reliability of early adolescent girls’ reports of romantic and sexual behavior. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 513–521.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jennings, T. E., Lucenko, B. A., Malow, R. M., & Devieux, J. G. (2002). Audio-CASI vs. interview method of administration of an HIV/STD risk of exposure screening instrument for teenagers. International Journal of STD and AIDS, 13, 781–784.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Macalino, G. E., Celentano, D. D., Latkin, C., Strathdee, S. A., & Vlahov, D. (2002). Risk behaviors by audio computer-assisted self-interviews among HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative injection drug users. AIDS Education and Prevention, 14, 367–378.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McGraw, K. O., & Wong, S. P. (1996). Forming inferences about some intraclass correlation coefficients. Psychological Methods, 1, 30–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McLaws, M. L., Oldenburg, B., Ross, M. W., & Cooper, D. A. (1990). Sexual behavior in AIDS-related research: Reliability and validity of recall and diary measures. Journal of Sex Research, 27, 265–281.Google Scholar
  20. Metzger, D. S., Koblin, B., Turner, C., Navaline, H., Valenti, F., Holte, S., et al. (2000). Randomized controlled trial of audio computer-assisted self-interviewing: Utility and acceptability in longitudinal studies. American Journal of Epidemiology, 152, 99–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Ehrhardt, A. A., Exner, T. A., & Gruen, R. S. (1988). Sexual Risk Behavior Assessment Schedule for Youths (SERBAS-Y-SH). Unpublished measure, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute.Google Scholar
  22. Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Ehrhardt, A. A., Exner, T. A., & Gruen, R. S. (1994). Sexual Risk Behavior Assessment Schedule for Homosexual Youths (SERBAS-Y-HM). Unpublished measure. (Available from H. F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 15, New York, NY 10032, meyerb@childpsych.columbia.edu.)Google Scholar
  23. Newcomer, S., & Udry, J. R. (1988). Adolescents’ honesty in a survey of sexual behavior. Journal of Adolescent Research, 3, 419–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Rosario, M., Hunter, J., Maguen, S., Gwadz, M., & Smith, R. (2001). The coming-out process and its adaptational and health-related associations among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths: Stipulation and exploration of a model. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29, 133–160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rosario, M., Mahler, K., Hunter, J., & Gwadz, M. (1999). Understanding the unprotected sexual behaviors of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths: An empirical test of the cognitive–environmental model. Health Psychology, 18, 272–280.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosario, M., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Hunter, J., Exner, T. M., Gwadz, M., & Keller, A. M. (1996). The psychosexual development of urban lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rosario, M., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Hunter, J., & Gwadz, M. (1999). Sexual risk behaviors of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths in New York City: Prevalence and correlates. AIDS Education and Prevention, 11, 476–496.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E. W., & Hunter, J. (2004). Ethnic/racial differences in the coming-out process of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: A comparison of sexual identity development over time. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 10, 215–228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Saltzman, S. P., Stoddard, A. M., McCusker, J., Moon, M. W., & Mayer, K. H. (1987). Reliability of self-reported sexual behavior risk factors for HIV infection in homosexual men. Public Health Reports, 102, 692–697.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Schroder, K. E. E., Carey, M. P., & Vanable, P. A. (2003). Methodological challenges in research on sexual risk behavior: II. Accuracy of self-reports. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 26, 104–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Siegel, D. M., Aten, M. J., & Roghmann, K. J. (1998). Self-reported honesty among middle and high school students responding to a sexual behavior questionnaire. Journal of Adolescent Health, 23, 20–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Weinhardt, L. S., Forsyth, A. D., Carey, M. P., Jaworski, B. C., & Durant, L. E. (1998). Reliability and validity of self-report measures of HIV-related sexual behavior: Progress since 1990 and recommendations for research and practice. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 27, 155–180.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wiederman, M. W. (2002). Reliability and validity of measurement. In M. W. Wiederman & B. E. Whitley (Eds.), Handbook for conducting research on human sexuality (pp. 25–50). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  35. Williams, M. L., Freeman, R. C., Bowen, A. M., Zhao, Z., Elwood, W. N., Gordon, C., et al. (2000). A comparison of the reliability of self-reported drug use and sexual behaviors using computer-assisted versus face-to-face interviewing. AIDS Education and Prevention, 12, 199–213.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric W. Schrimshaw
    • 1
    • 6
  • Margaret Rosario
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg
    • 3
  • Alice A. Scharf-Matlick
    • 5
  1. 1.Doctoral Program in PsychologyThe City University of New York - Graduate CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe City University of New York - The City CollegeNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyIona CollegeNew RochelleUSA
  6. 6.the Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health & IllnessMailman School of Public Health, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations