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 Results: Approximately 7% of all sexually experienced young men rescinded STD self-reports over time.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.
- Adolescent Males
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health