Dan Romer, Ph.D., Director of the Adolescent Risk Communication Institute at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and Michael Hennessy, Ph.D., Research Analysis Manager, Annenberg School for Communication have published an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health (Vol 44, Issue 3, March 2009 pages 214-221) titled “Test–Retest Reliability of Self-Reported HIV/STD-Related Measures Among African-American Adolescents in Four U.S. Cities.” Co-authors include Peter A. Vanable, Ph.D., Michael P. Carey, Ph.D., and Jennifer L. Brown, M.S., all from Syracuse University; Ralph J. DiClemente, Ph.D., and Laura F. Salazar, Ph.D., from Emory University; Robert F. Valios, Ph.D., University of South Carolina; and Bonita F. Stanton, M.D., Wayne State University,
Purpose: To evaluate the test–retest reliability of self-reported sexuality-related data in a sample of African American adolescents residing in four U.S. cities.
Methods: Using audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI), 156 African American teens (mean age ¼ 15.5 years) provided data on lifetime and recent sexual behavior, HIV/sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, and theoretical antecedents of sexual risk behavior on two occasions separated by 2 weeks.
Results: Most self-reports of lifetime sexual behavior and STD/HIV testing were stable across the two assessment points. Test–retest agreement was substantial for dichotomous indices of lifetime sexual behaviors and STD testing (kappas ranging from .61–.87), and for 3-month recall of vaginal sex (kappa¼.72) and number of sexual partners (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] ¼ .68). Lower reliability estimates emerged for count data of unprotected vaginal sex occasions (ICC ¼ .44). Test–retest reliability estimates for antecedents of sexual risk behavior were highest for a validated measure of HIV-related knowledge (r¼.73), but somewhat lower for peer norms(r¼.58) and condom use self-efficacy (r¼.50).
Conclusions: Although variability in the stability of self-report data was observed, findings confirm that most sexual behavior, STD and HIV testing history, and psychosocial measures can be assessed reliably among adolescents. Research should continue to identify strategies to enhance the reliability of self-report sexual behavior data from youth at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.