Document Detail


Reliability of reports of sexual behavior: a study of married couples in rural west Africa.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7771458     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
A heterosexual partners survey in rural Senegal, Africa, was carried out in 1992 to evaluate the reliability of self-reported answers about sexual practices. The authors followed 62 married couples weekly during a 5-week period to assess the level of agreement 1) between answers made by members of the same couple but collected separately, 2) between retrospective reporting of sexual activity during the last 4 weeks versus weekly reporting of sexual activity during 4 weeks, and 3) between answers to a set of identical retrospective questions asked 5 weeks apart. Reports over recent and short periods of time such as 7 days are reliable: The dates of sexual acts with spouse reported during the weekly interviews were concordant between members of a couple at 0-day or 1-day intervals in 72% of cases. The concordance of weeks reported with or without intercourse was also high. Reports over longer periods of time are less reliable: The comparison of retrospective reports versus weekly reports regarding mean number of sexual acts during the last 4 weeks shows a clear overreporting that was higher among men (4.5 vs. 2.7 sexual acts) than among women (3.7 vs. 2.7).
Accurate measures of sex behavior are very important for interventions, the subsequent evaluation of behavior change, and for the development of epidemiologic models of sexually transmitted diseases. Measures of sex behavior are usually based upon self-reports of sexual practices. The reliability of such information is, however, questionable. The authors report their findings from a 1992 study in the region of Ziguinchor, Senegal, to evaluate the reliability of self-reported answers from married couples about sex practices. 62 married couples were followed weekly during a 5-week period to assess the level of agreement between answers made by members of the same couple but collected separately, between retrospective reporting of sexual activity during the last four weeks versus weekly reporting of sexual activity during four weeks, and between answers to a set of identical retrospective questions asked five weeks apart. Reports over recent and short periods of time such as seven days are reliable; the dates of sex acts with spouse reported during the weekly interviews were concordant between members of a couple at 0-day or 1-day intervals in 72% of cases. The concordance of weeks reported with or without intercourse was also high. Reports over longer periods of time are, however, less reliable. Comparison of retrospective reports versus weekly reports on the mean number of sex acts during the last four weeks found a clear overreporting that was higher among men, 4.5 vs. 2.7 sex acts compared to 3.7 vs. 2.7 among women.
Authors:
E Lagarde; C Enel; G Pison
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of epidemiology     Volume:  141     ISSN:  0002-9262     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Epidemiol.     Publication Date:  1995 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-07-06     Completed Date:  1995-07-06     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7910653     Medline TA:  Am J Epidemiol     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1194-200     Citation Subset:  IM; J    
Affiliation:
Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Biologique, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Adolescent
Adult
Coitus
Data Collection / methods
Extramarital Relations
Female
Humans
Male
Marriage*
Middle Aged
Retrospective Studies
Rural Population
Senegal
Sex Factors
Sexual Behavior*
Time Factors

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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