Recall Bias for Seven-Day Recall Measurement of Alcohol Consumption Among Emergency Department Patients: Implications for Case-Crossover Designs*

Alcohol Treatment Center, Lausanne University Hospital, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs (Impact Factor: 2.76). 04/2007; 68(2):303-10. DOI: 10.15288/jsad.2007.68.303
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to estimate biases in recalling alcohol consumption over short periods.
Patients (n = 918) attending the surgical ward of the emergency department (ED) of the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland participated in a brief intervention study. Inclusion criteria were an average alcohol consumption exceeding 14 drinks per week for men or 7 drinks per week for women, or the consumption at least once monthly of 5 or more drinks for men or 4 or more drinks for women. Alcohol consumption was measured by means of a retrospective 7-day diary.
Recalled alcohol consumption decreased with the length of the recall period. Consumption was 0.9 drinks lower for a recall of 7 days compared with a recall of 1 day. Biases were apparent for every day of the week, but the bias was highest for consumption to be recalled for Fridays and Saturdays. Recall bias was significant only for sporadic drinkers (those drinking less than 4 days a week) but not for regular drinkers (those drinking 5 or more days a week).
Recall bias is a threat for survey measurements of alcohol consumption in general and particularly for research designs in which the bias is differentially distributed across cases and controls. This bias is true for case-crossover designs in which the recalled consumption of an individual for a period farther away from the interview (e.g., past week) serves as the control for the acute intake of the same individual (e.g., in the 6-hour period preceding ED attendance). Because risk estimates of case-crossover designs focus particularly on sporadic drinkers, the finding of recall biases being higher among sporadic drinkers increases the chance of spurious findings in such designs.

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    • "One strength of the present study was that a weekly diary was used to assess all study variables, which we argue reduces the effects of retrospective memory biases compared to traditional methods (i.e., assessment windows ranging from 30 to 90 days). However, retrospective memory biases have been shown to affect estimates of alcohol use in time frames as short as 1 week (Gmel & Daeppen, 2007); thus, the use of ecological momentary assessment (Shiffman, 2009) would allow a further reduction in retrospective memory biases in the self-reporting of all the constructs assessed in the present study and provide more statistical power to parse the within-and between-subjects associations among these variables. Although we examined three distinct types of PBS use, our measure of PBS norms was a single item regarding the percentage of college students each participant perceived to " regularly engage in these strategies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Heavy alcohol use remains a consistent public health concern on college campuses. The current pilot study used deviance regulation theory (DRT) to modify protective behavioral strategies (PBS) among college student drinkers to reduce alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences. The sample was comprised of current college student drinkers (n = 76; 53.95% female) ranging in age from 18-24 (M = 19.29, SD = 1.42). Participants were randomly assigned to receive a positively or negatively framed message. They then reported on use of alcohol PBS (via the Protective Behavioral Strategies Scale), alcohol consumption (via the Modified Daily Drinking Questionnaire), and alcohol-related consequences (via the Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire) each week for 6 weeks. Among drinkers with low PBS use norms, a positively, versus a negatively, framed message resulted in increased PBS use and consequently less alcohol consumption and fewer alcohol-related consequences. Among drinkers with high PBS use norms, a negatively, versus positively, framed message resulted in increased PBS use and consequently lower alcohol consumption and fewer alcohol-related consequences. However, these effects were only relevant among those who strongly believed the DRT frame. Findings suggest assigning drinkers to frames based on perceived PBS use norms and increasing belief in the frame may be 1 approach to increasing responsible drinking patterns among college students. Furthermore, the current data suggests important boundary conditions for norm-based interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
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    • "Lifetime prevalences will naturally be higher than current prevalence. It should be noted that lifetime prevalence estimates by their retrospective nature are more susceptible to recall bias than current prevalences [220]. Lifetime prevalences also cover a wider range of use (from days to many years) in contrast to current prevalence that addresses " here and now " use. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To estimate the global lifetime prevalence rate of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use and investigate moderators of the prevalence rate. Methods: A meta-analysis and meta-regression analysis was performed using studies gathered from searches in PsycINFO, PubMed, ISI Web of Science, and Google Scholar among others. Included were 187 studies that provided original data on 271 lifetime prevalence rates. Studies were coded for publication year, region, sample type, age range, sample size, assessment method, and sampling method. Heterogeneity was assessed by the I(2) index and the Q-statistic. Random effect-size modeling was used. Subgroup comparisons were conducted using Bonferroni correction. Results: The global lifetime prevalence rate obtained was 3.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8-3.8; I(2) = 99.7, P < .001). The prevalence rate for males, 6.4% (95% CI, 5.3-7.7, I(2) = 99.2, P < .001), was significantly higher (Qbet = 100.1, P < .001) than the rate for females, 1.6% (95% CI, 1.3-1.9, I(2) = 96.8, P < .001). Sample type (athletes), assessment method (interviews only and interviews and questionnaires), sampling method, and male sample percentage were significant predictors of AAS use prevalence. There was no indication of publication bias. Conclusion: Nonmedical AAS use is a serious widespread public health problem.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Annals of Epidemiology
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    • "In general population surveys, recall bias in substance use reporting is a major concern. This is considered as a threat for survey measurements of alcohol consumption in general [52]. Indeed, survey questions encourage error because they do not help respondents to recall extensively all their drinking occasions or because respondents must answer based on standard drink sizes that often do not match their own drinking style [53]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that survey methodology can greatly influence prevalence estimates for alcohol and illicit drug use. The aim of this article is to assess the effect of data collection modes on alcohol misuse and drug use reports by comparing national estimates from computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) and audio-computer-assisted self interviews (A-CASI). Two national representative surveys conducted in 2005 in France by CATI (n = 24,674) and A-CASI (n = 8,111). French-speaking individuals aged [18]-[64] years old. Alcohol misuse according to the CAGE test, cannabis use (lifetime, last year, 10+ in last month) and experimentation with cocaine, LSD, heroin, amphetamines, ecstasy, were measured with the same questions and wordings in the two surveys. Multivariate logistic regressions controlling for sociodemographic characteristics (age, educational level, marital status and professional status) were performed. Analyses were conducted on the whole sample and stratified by age (18-29 and 30-44 years old) and gender. 45-64 years old data were not analysed due to limited numbers. Overall national estimates were similar for 9 out of the 10 examined measures. However, after adjustment, A-CASI provided higher use for most types of illicit drugs among the youngest men (adjusted odds ratio, or OR, of 1.64 [1.08-2.49] for cocaine, 1.62 [1.10-2.38] for ecstasy, 1.99 [1.17-3.37] for LSD, 2.17 [1.07-4.43] for heroin, and 2.48 [1.41-4.35] for amphetamines), whereas use amongst women was similar in CATI and A-CASI, except for LSD in the 30-44 age group (OR = 3.60 [1.64-7.89]). Reported alcohol misuse was higher with A-CASI, for all ages and genders. Although differences in the results over the whole population were relatively small between the surveys, the effect of data collection mode seemed to vary according to age and gender.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · PLoS ONE
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