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J Adolesc Health. 2009 Aug;45(2):187-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.024. Epub 2009 Mar 29.

What are the consequences of relying upon self-reports of sexually transmitted diseases? Lessons learned about recanting in a longitudinal study.

Author information

1
Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA. jdarioti@jhsph.edu

Abstract

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Approximately 7% of all sexually experienced young men rescinded STD self-reports over time.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.

PMID:
19628146
PMCID:
PMC2752864
DOI:
10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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