The Validity of Self-Reports of Alcohol Consumption: State of the Science and Challenges for Research

Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Florida, USA.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.74). 01/2004; 98 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):1-12. DOI: 10.1046/j.1359-6357.2003.00586.x
Source: PubMed


To review three topics pertaining to the validity of alcohol self-reports: factors that influence response accuracy; the relative merits of different self-report approaches; and the utility of using alternative measures to confirm verbal reports.
Response behavior is influenced by the interaction of social context factors, respondent characteristics, and task attributes. Although research has advanced our knowledge about self-report methods, many questions remain unanswered. In particular, there is a need to investigate how task demands interact with different patterns of drinking behavior to affect response accuracy. There is also a continuing need to use multiple data sources to examine the extent of self-report response bias, and to determine whether it varies as a function of respondent characteristics or assessment timing.
Self-report methods offer a reliable and valid approach to measuring alcohol consumption. The accuracy of such methods, however, can be improved by research directed at understanding the processes involved in response behavior.

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    • "Numerous studies have examined the reliability and validity of the TLFB and Form-90 across multiple administration methods, including comparisons between telephone and computer (Sobell et al., 1996), online and in-person (Pedersen et al., 2012), individual and group (Pedersen and LaBrie, 2006), and telephone versus selfadministration (Maisto et al., 2008). The general conclusion from these studies is that both assessments, regardless of the method of administration, typically produce reliable and valid estimates of alcohol consumption in the context of clinical research (Del Boca and Darkes, 2003). Self-reported alcohol consumption can be verified using collateral informants (i.e., proxy reporters) or alcohol biomarkers , although both approaches have limitations and currently most researchers ultimately rely on self-reported alcohol consumption for primary analyses. "
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    • "However, confidentiality was assured in the consent and through a Certificate of Confidentiality. Also, studies examining self-report measures like the G-TLFB have been shown to be both reliable and valid (Carney et al. 1998; Del Boca and Darkes 2002). "
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