192990 Factors that influence correspondence between subject and collateral reports of subject substance use among college students

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brett T. Hagman, MA , University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health, New Brunswick, NJ
Amy Michelle Cohn, PhD , Department of Psychology, Rutgers Alcohol Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Nora E. Noel, PhD , Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Wilmington, NC
Collateral informants have been incorporated in substance use intervention research involving college students to independently verify subject self-reported substance use. Few studies have identified factors that influence correspondence between subject-collateral (S-C) reports specific to substance use behavior. This study examined the associations between S-C reports of subject substance use and identified factors that influence agreement between both sets of reports. Same sex S-C pairs (N = 300; 74.3% female) were recruited from undergraduate psychology courses. Each was asked to report on his/her own substance use as well as his/her friend's substance use. Data yielded moderate correlations between S-C pairs for 12 substance use variables (e.g., cocaine/hallucinogen use; r's .30 to .73), while discrepancy analyses revealed a tendency for subjects to report greater substance use relative to collateral reports. A regression analysis revealed that greater S-C agreement for frequency of subject drug use occurred when subjects' consumed less alcohol quantity (b = .07, p < .01), collaterals' engaged in less drug use (b = .11, p < .01), and when subjects and collaterals had more common occasions of consuming alcohol (b = -.06, p < .03) or drugs together (b = -.18, p < .01). S-C correspondence regarding drug use in this study suggests that college students provide reasonably accurate substance use data. In studies in which collaterals may be warranted, findings indicate that the ideal collateral for studies involving college students is someone who can observe the subject's drug use behavior, but do not consume drugs on a frequent basis.

Learning Objectives:
1) Compare the degree of correspondence between subject and collateral reports of subject substance use among college students 2) Examine the validity of college student self-reported substance use behavior 3) Identify the selective circumstances of when collateral reports are the most useful in college student research

Keywords: College Students, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a current doctoral candidate, who has presented at several research conferences, and abides by all IRB ethical standards.
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.