176200 Influence of question type, reference period and sensitivity on item reliability in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Monday, October 27, 2008: 1:00 PM

Joel Kennet , Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Dicy Painter , Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Moshe Feder , Statistics and Epidemiology, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Jeanne Snodgrass , Survey Research Division, The Program for Research in Survey Methodology, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Lanny Piper , Survey Research Division, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is an annual, cross-sectional survey of the civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. population aged 12 and older. Respondents (N=67,500 per year) are interviewed in households or group quarters, using laptop computers. The survey obtains information on past month, past year, and lifetime use or non-use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco, as well as a variety of other health-related topics. Sensitive items are administered in ACASI mode; less sensitive information is captured in CAPI mode. A Reliability Study was conducted in 2006, in which approximately 3,100 NSDUH respondents were re-interviewed after a 5 to 15 day interval. The study enabled assessment of response consistency for a wide range of survey item types within several content domains. Three item characteristics are of interest in this study: answer type (fact vs. attitude), sensitivity (as inferred by legal penalties associated with behavior being probed), and reference period (30 days, 12 months, lifetime). This paper will describe results obtained on several items that vary in these characteristics. It is hypothesized that increased sensitivity will be associated with decreased reliability, and factual questions will be more reliable than attitude questions. Longer reference periods are expected to have no effect on reliability of non-sensitive items, but should be positively associated with reliability of sensitive items. These results may inform researchers about possible differences in reporting errors across question types that vary in the cognitive, social and contextual factors that influence consistent and truthful reporting.

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will acquire knowledge of some of the factors that influence questionnaire-item reliability. This information can be utilized in designing questionnaire items that minimize the potential for response error.

Keywords: Data/Surveillance, Screening Instruments

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work for the agency that sponsors the research, I assisted with its design, and continue to work on the project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.