Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Addict Behav. 2017 Nov;74:106-111. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

A rural/urban comparison of privacy and confidentiality concerns associated with providing sensitive location information in epidemiologic research involving persons who use drugs.

Author information

1
Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Boston, MA 02118, USA. Electronic address: arudolph@bu.edu.
2
Department of Epidemiology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY 40536, USA; Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536, USA. Electronic address: april.young@uky.edu.
3
Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536, USA. Electronic address: jhave2@uky.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Analyses that link contextual factors with individual-level data can improve our understanding of the "risk environment"; however, the accuracy of information provided by participants about locations where illegal/stigmatized behaviors occur may be influenced by privacy/confidentiality concerns that may vary by setting and/or data collection approach.

METHODS:

We recruited thirty-five persons who use drugs from a rural Appalachian town and a Mid-Atlantic city to participate in in-depth interviews. Through thematic analyses, we identified and compared privacy/confidentiality concerns associated with two survey methods that (1) collect self-reported addresses/cross-streets and (2) use an interactive web-based map to find/confirm locations in rural and urban settings.

RESULTS:

Concerns differed more by setting than between methods. For example, (1) rural participants valued interviewer rapport and protections provided by the Certificate of Confidentiality more; (2) locations considered to be sensitive differed in rural (i.e., others' homes) and urban (i.e., where drugs were used) settings; and (3) urban participants were more likely to view providing cross-streets as an acceptable alternative to providing exact addresses for sensitive locations and to prefer the web-based map approach.

CONCLUSION:

Rural-urban differences in privacy/confidentiality concerns reflect contextual differences (i.e., where drugs are used/purchased, population density, and prior drug-related arrests). Strategies to alleviate concerns include: (1) obtain a Certificate of Confidentiality, (2) collect geographic data at the scale necessary for proposed analyses, and (3) permit participants to provide intersections/landmarks in close proximity to actual locations rather than exact addresses or to skip questions where providing an intersection/landmark would not obfuscate the actual address.

KEYWORDS:

Persons who use drugs; Research ethics, Rural; Risk environment; Substance use; Urban

PMID:
28609723
PMCID:
PMC5544525
DOI:
10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.06.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center