Inconsistency in Self-Reporting the Use of Substances over Time


Broman, Michael J.; Bista, Shikha; & Broman, Clifford L. (2022). Inconsistency in Self-Reporting the Use of Substances over Time. Substance Use & Misuse. pp. 1-9


Background: The reliability of reporting the use of substances has important implications for researchers, policymakers, treatment providers, and other stakeholders. Recanting, defined as endorsing use of a particular substance initially and later denying it, threatens such reliability. Methods: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health are utilized. This is a longitudinal nationally representative study of the U.S. individuals who have participated in five waves of interviews, starting in adolescence in 1994 and 1995 (Wave 1) and ending with the most recent wave (2016-2019) where respondents were aged 33-44 (Wave 5). Results: We found substantial recanting across years. From 2 to 17% of respondents recant over time. Misuse of prescription drugs is the most commonly recanted substance use behavior, at 16.8%. After this, alcohol use, and smoking are the most recanted substances. Race/ethnicity and education have a widespread association with recanting the various substances, and age and gender are also of importance. Conclusion: In the present study, we examined the issue of recanting of substance use over duration of up to 18-years. This extends the previous work on recanting by examining this phenomenon over a considerably longer period of time. We found substantial recanting across years, and that race?ethnicity and education are of significance in association with recanting.



Substance reporting

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Substance Use & Misuse


Broman, Michael J.
Bista, Shikha
Broman, Clifford L.

Year Published








Reference ID