Adolescents’ inconsistency in self-reported smoking: A comparison of reports in school and in household settings


Griesler, P.; C; Kandel, D.; B; Schaffran, C.; Hu, M.; C; & Davies, M. (2008). Adolescents' inconsistency in self-reported smoking: A comparison of reports in school and in household settings. Public Opinion Quarterly. vol. 72 (2) pp. 260-290


Extent and sources of inconsistency in self-reported cigarette smoking between self-administered school surveys and household interviews was examined in two longitudinal multiethnic adolescent samples, the urban Transition to Nicotine Dependence in Adolescence (TND) (N = 832) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) (N = 4,414). Inconsistency was defined as a positive report of smoking in school followed by a negative report in the household. Smoking questions were ascertained with paper-and-pencil instruments (PAPI-SAQ) in school in both studies, and computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) in TND but audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) in Add Health in the household. In TND, 23.5 percent of youths who reported smoking lifetime and 20.4 percent of those who reported smoking the last 12 months in the school survey reported in the household never having smoked; in Add Health, the latter was 8.6 percent. Logistic regressions identified five common correlates of inconsistency across the two studies: younger age, ethnic minority status, lesser involvement in deviant activities, having nonsmoking parents and friends. In TND, interviewing of youth and parent by the same interviewer increased inconsistent reporting. Matching the definition of inconsistent reporting and the age, gender and race/ethnic distributions of TND on an urban Add Health subsample reduced the predicted rate of inconsistency in TND. The estimated bias attributable to CAPI compared with ACASI methodology did not reach significance in the aggregated matched samples suggesting that irrespective of administration mode, household interviews decrease reporting of smoking, especially among younger, minority and more conventional youths embedded in a social network of nonsmokers.




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Journal Article

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Public Opinion Quarterly


Griesler, P.
Kandel, D.
Schaffran, C.
Hu, M.
Davies, M.

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