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Violence Vict. 2006 Aug;21(4):499-506.

Effects of method on participants and disclosure rates in research on sensitive topics.

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Northern Illinois University, Department of Psychology, DeKalb 60115, USA.


This study replicates and extends the research of Rosenbaum, Rabenhorst, Reddy, Fleming, and Howells, which also appears in this special issue. Responses from 398 randomly assigned participants regarding differentially sensitive topics were collected via four methods of data collection: written questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, and an automated telephonic data collection system (ATDC). Several significant differences in data collection methodology and topic area were found, including greater disclosure of sensitive information via the ATDC system than via face-to-face and paper-and-pencil conditions. Participants who were assigned to the ATDC condition felt significantly more comfortable answering questions compared to those in the face-to-face interview condition. Participants in the telephone interview condition reported answering significantly more carefully than participants answering via written questionnaire. Taken together, the results of this study and the previous one it replicates suggest that the ATDC produces disclosure rates that are at least equivalent to, if not greater than, those generated using traditional methods for collecting sensitive data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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