Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 41–47 | Cite as

Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use Information Among Pregnant Women

  • Mahek Garg
  • Laura Garrison
  • Lawrence Leeman
  • Ajna Hamidovic
  • Matthew Borrego
  • William F. Rayburn
  • Ludmila BakhirevaEmail author



This study assesses validity of self-report for the use of major classes of illicit drugs and opioid-maintenance therapy among pregnant women at a substance abuse treatment program.


Analyses used data collected from 83 pregnant women in a prospective cohort study at the University of New Mexico. Study participants with a history of substance abuse were screened and, if eligible, enrolled during an early prenatal care visit. A follow-up interview was conducted shortly after delivery. Self-reported information about drug use later in pregnancy was compared with urine drug screen (UDS) results collected during the third trimester. Simple kappa (k) and prevalence-and-bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK) coefficients were calculated as the measures of agreement. Sensitivity and specificity of self-report for each drug class were estimated using UDS as the ‘gold standard’.


The sample included a large proportion of ethnic minority (80 % Hispanic/Latina and 7 % American Indian) and socially disadvantaged (50 % less than high school education and 94 % Medicaid-insured) pregnant women. On average, patients had 4.8 ± 3.0 urine drug screens during the third trimester. Sensitivity of self-report was low (<60 %) for all classes of illicit drugs; however, marijuana and opioids demonstrated slightly higher sensitivity (57.9 and 58.3 %, respectively) than other classes (<47 %).


This study found substantial underreporting for all classes of illicit drugs among pregnant women in a substance abuse treatment program. Rates of underreporting are expected to be higher among the general population of pregnant women.


Pregnancy Drug use Self-report Validity 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahek Garg
    • 1
  • Laura Garrison
    • 1
  • Lawrence Leeman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ajna Hamidovic
    • 1
  • Matthew Borrego
    • 1
  • William F. Rayburn
    • 3
  • Ludmila Bakhireva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administrative SciencesCollege of Pharmacy, University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community MedicineSchool of Medicine, University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologySchool of Medicine, University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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