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Adolescence. 1987 Spring;22(85):7-22.

Validity of adolescents' self-reports of alcohol use and misuse using a bogus pipeline procedure.


Past research, particularly in the area of adolescent smoking behavior, has suggested that more valid self-reports of socially undesirable behavior can be obtained when a bogus pipeline procedure is implemented. "Bogus pipeline" refers to a methodology in which subjects are informed that their self-reports can and will be objectively verified by the researcher through a procedure such as a biochemical test. In actuality, no verification takes place. Recent studies using this methodology have produced mixed results. In the current study, a bogus pipeline procedure designed to increase the validity of adolescents' self-reports of alcohol use and misuse was devised and evaluated as part of the pilot work for an alcohol misuse prevention study in southeastern Michigan schools. A total of 291 students in grades seven through nine were tested in the pilot study. Of these, 173 experienced the bogus pipeline approach in which saliva samples were collected, while 118 served as controls. The differences between the two conditions were examined with respect to nine variables concerning alcohol use and misuse. An overall frequency of use index and an overall misuse index were also examined. Two-way analyses of variance (treatment by grade level and treatment by gender) were conducted. The F values for a main effect of treatment ranged from .00 to 1.27 for the 11 variables. None of these was significant at the prespecified alpha level of .20. In addition, there was no interaction of the treatment procedure with either grade level or gender. In the context of a school-based study in which confidentiality was assured, adolescents' self-reports of alcohol use and misuse were not significantly affected by a bogus pipeline procedure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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