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Differences Between Landline and Mobile Phone Users in Sexual Behavior Research

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Abstract

This study investigated differences between the demographic characteristics, participation rates (i.e., agreeing to respond to questions about sexual behavior), and sexual behaviors of landline and mobile phone samples in Australia. A nationally representative sample of Australians aged 18 years and over was recruited via random digit dialing in December 2011 to collect data via computer-assisted telephone interviews. A total of 1012 people (370 men, 642 women) completed a landline interview and 1002 (524 men, 478 women) completed a mobile phone interview. Results revealed that telephone user status was significantly related to all demographic variables: gender, age, educational attainment, area of residence, country of birth, household composition, and current ongoing relationship status. In unadjusted analyses, telephone status was also associated with women’s participation rates, participants’ number of other-sex sexual partners in the previous year, and women’s lifetime sexual experience. However, after controlling for significant demographic factors, telephone status was only independently related to women’s participation rates. Post hoc analyses showed that significant, between-group differences for all other sexual behavior outcomes could be explained by demographic covariates. Results also suggested that telephone status may be associated with participation bias in research on sexual behavior. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of sampling both landline and mobile phone users to improve the representativeness of sexual behavior data collected via telephone interviews.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Project Grant 1002174).

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Correspondence to Paul B. Badcock.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All study procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research ethics committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Anthony M. A. Smith: Deceased 7 November 2012.

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Badcock, P.B., Patrick, K., Smith, A.M.A. et al. Differences Between Landline and Mobile Phone Users in Sexual Behavior Research. Arch Sex Behav 46, 1711–1721 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0859-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0859-3

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