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Original article
Comparing 3-month recall to daily reporting of sexual behaviours
  1. Kristen P Mark1,
  2. Rachel V Smith2,
  3. April M Young3,
  4. Richard Crosby4
  1. 1Department of Kinesiology & Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  2. 2Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  4. 4Department of Health Behavior, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kristen P Mark, Department of Kinesiology & Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, 122 Seaton Building, Lexington, KY 40506 USA; kristen.mark{at}uky.edu

Abstract

Objectives This study aimed to examine discrepancies between self-report methods and methodological issues related to sexual risk taking. We examined sexual behaviour assessed via 3-month electronic recall and by daily electronic reporting among a large cohort of patients attending STI clinics.

Methods STI clinic attenders (N= 628) aged 15 to 60 years reported on demographic information (at baseline), penile–vaginal sex acts, condom-unprotected penile–vaginal sex and STI history using 3-month recall and daily reports. Additionally, interviewer–participant match related to race and gender, as well as study site were considered as covariates.

Results Concordance between recall and daily reports on penile–vaginal sex was moderately strong (Spearman's r (rs)=0.62; p<0.001). Comparison for reports for condom-unprotected penile–vaginal sex resulted in a correlation coefficient of 0.61 (p<0.001), also indicating moderately strong agreement between the two methods. Two generalised logit models were conducted to explain lack of strong concordance in penile–vaginal sex acts and condom-unprotected penile–vaginal sex. The odds of a female reporting higher frequency of sex in daily reports compared with recall were more than two times that of a male. Every five person increase in the number of lifetime sexual partners was associated with five times the odds of a discrepancy in reporting methods. Age was also significantly associated with unequal daily versus recall sex frequency reporting.

Conclusions Shifting focus to methodological considerations of technological reports can help ensure better investment of resources into sexual health research due to greater understanding of the methodological properties of data collection methods.

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