A comparison of the reliability of self-reported drug use and sexual behaviors using computer-assisted versus face-to-face interviewing

AIDS Educ Prev. 2000 Jun;12(3):199-213.


The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of responses to HIV risk behavior questions obtained using a voice-enhanced, computer-administered self-interview (audio-CASI) system with touch-screen response compared with those obtained via face-to-face interviews administered by trained and experienced interviewers. Additionally, the study assessed bias that may be attributable to an audio-CASI data collection format. The design of the study was a four-group crossover design with random assignment to one of four study conditions: (a) audio-CASI interview at both intake and retest, (b) face-to-face interview at both intake and retest, (c) audio-CASI interview at intake and face-to-face interview at retest, and (d) face-to-face interview at intake and audio-CASI interview at retest. The study was conducted with a sample of drug users at risk for HIV infection interviewed in nonclinical settings. Data were collected at intake and 48 hours after intake. Analyses show that data obtained using voice-enhanced computer interviewing with touch-screen response are reliable and are comparable to data obtained using interviewer administered face-to-face interviews. However, bias was found to be associated with data collection format and may be partially attributable to the complexity of the questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Computers
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior* / statistics & numerical data
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / urine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tape Recording / instrumentation
  • Tape Recording / methods