Methodological problems in AIDS behavioral research: influences on measurement error and participation bias in studies of sexual behavior

Psychol Bull. 1990 Nov;108(3):339-62. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.108.3.339.


An unprecedented number of human sexuality studies have been initiated in response to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. Unfortunately, methodological developments in the field of sex research have been slow in meeting the demands of AIDS investigations focusing on the diverse populations at risk for infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (e.g., adolescents, gay men, intravenous-drug users, ethnic minorities, elderly transfusees). In this article, we review and integrate current literature on measurement error and participation bias in sex research, with an emphasis on collecting sexual information in the context of AIDS. The relevance of these findings for AIDS-related sex research is discussed, and recommendations are made to guide future investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / transmission
  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Research
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sick Role