Effect of computer-assisted self-interviews on reporting of sexual HIV risk behaviours in a general population sample: a methodological experiment

AIDS. 2001 Jan 5;15(1):111-5. doi: 10.1097/00002030-200101050-00016.


Objectives: To develop methods to maximize the accuracy of reporting HIV risk behaviours in a general population survey. We assessed the feasibility of using a computer-assisted self-completion interview (CASI) in comparison with pen-and-paper self-completion interview (PAPI).

Design: A probability sample survey of residents aged 16-44 years in Britain, with alternate assignment of addresses to interview by CASI (462) or PAPI (439).

Methods: Personal interviews exploring demographic and sexual behaviour variables. Principal outcome measures were the impact of CASI in relation to PAPI on data quality and rates of reporting a range of behaviours.

Results: A total of 901 interviews were completed; 829 individuals were eligible for and accepted the self-completion module. Internal consistency of data items was greater with CASI than PAPI and item non-response was lower. Overall, there was no significant difference in rates of reporting between CASI and PAPI. The main effect for CASI compared with PAPI in a generalized estimating equation (GEE) analysis was an OR (95% CI) of 1.04 (0.92-1.17). Variables were also examined individually, including homosexual partnership (adjusted OR 1.26 95%, CI 0.69-2.29), payment for sex (adjusted OR 0.68 95% CI 0.29-1.59), masturbation (adjusted OR 0.89 95% CI 0.66 1.22) and five or more partners in the past 5 years (OR 0.85 95% CI 0.61 -1.19).

Conclusion: We found no evidence of a consistent effect of CASI on rates of reporting sexual HIV risk behaviours in this sample. CASI resulted in improvement in internal consistency and a reduction in missed questions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Computing Methodologies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*