What Are the Consequences of Relying upon Self-Reports of Sexually Transmitted Diseases? Lessons Learned about Recanting in a Longitudinal Study

Jacinda K. Dariotis, Joseph H. Pleck, Freya L. Sonenstein, Nan M. Astone, Frangiscos Sifakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Self-reports are the standard measure of STD history used in survey research. We explored to what extent self-reports of ever having an STD are recanted in a follow-up data collection. Methods: Using the National Survey of Adolescent Males (NSAM), we assessed consistency over time in self-reports of ever having an STD in a sample of young men transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood (aged 15-26 years), a population in which STDs are particularly prevalent. Results: Approximately 7% of all sexually experienced young men rescinded STD self-reports over time. Thus, self-reports at one point in time likely underestimate true STD history, using earlier self-reports as the criterion. Among men who ever report an STD, 94-98% recant their reports in later waves. Conclusions: Knowledge of the extent of underreporting can potentially be used to adjust cross-sectional estimates of STDs based on survey self-reports. These study findings move us one step closer to estimating just how much underreporting of STDs in self-reports is.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescent Males
  • Recanting
  • Self-Reports
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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