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NCJ Number: 167340 Find in a Library
Title: Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use in Survey Research: An Overview and Critique of Research Methods (From The Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use: Improving the Accuracy of Survey Estimates, P 17-36, 1997, Lana Harrison and Arthur Hughes, eds. - See NCJ 167339)
Author(s): L Harrison
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5213
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the research literature on validation studies to provide an overview of what is known about the accuracy of self-reported drug use.
Abstract: At this point, it is not possible to judge how accurately individuals report their drug use in surveys. The largest problem with most external criteria validation studies is that results are inherently not generalizable. Criminal justice populations, the individuals most often tested, may be less honest because they could be heavily penalized if their drug use were known to authorities. Thus, validity rates for this group cannot be generalized to the overall population. In addition, the research literature suggests that the validity of self-report varies by population subgroup. However, research does suggest some conclusions about the validity of survey data on self-reported drug use: (1) There are differences in self-reporting by drug type; (2) More stigmatized drugs such as cocaine are the least validly reported; (3) The more recent the drug use, the more reporting bias; (4) Questionnaires produce higher prevalence rates than oral interviews; and (5) Differences in interviewer styles and presentation influence validity. References
Main Term(s): Controlled Substances
Index Term(s): Critiques; Drug use; Hair and fiber analysis; Literature; Questionnaires; Research methods; Self-report studies; Surveys; Testing and measurement; Urinalysis
Note: DCC
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