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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2012 Sep;73(5):829-33.

Self-administered web-based timeline followback procedure for drinking and smoking behaviors in young adults.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



The goal of the current investigation was to test the psychometric properties of a self-administered web-based version of the Timeline Followback (TLFB), a retrospective calendar method of assessing daily behaviors.


The study used a within-subjects, counterbalanced design to compare estimates of daily drinking and smoking behaviors obtained by a self-administered web-based version of the TLFB with estimates obtained by a telephone interview version. The sample consisted of 120 social drinker-smoker young adults (65 men).


Correlations between the two modalities for total number of drinks, total drinking days, and heavy drinking days in a 4-week period ranged from .83 to .93; those for total cigarettes, total smoking days, and heavy smoking days ranged from .90 to .95. The correlation between the two modalities for estimates of the number of co-use days was .90. Drinking and smoking estimates from the online TLFB also correlated significantly with scores from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and Fagerström Test of Nicotine Dependence.


Overall, the results demonstrated strong support for the use of a self-administered web-based TLFB assessment tool to capture concurrent reports of social drinking and smoking behaviors in young adults. The web-based TLFB may be particularly well suited for assessment in clinical trials, longitudinal designs, and epidemiological studies.

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