Acceptability of computer-acquired sexual histories in adolescent girls

J Pediatr. 1983 Nov;103(5):815-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(83)80493-4.


We investigated the acceptability and reliability of sensitive data collected via computer in adolescent patients. Subjects were 108 adolescent girls (ages 14 to 20 years), randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) interactive computer interview, (2) face-to-face interview, or (3) self-administered questionnaire. Subjects were queried about their general health and sexual behavior. Adolescents interviewed by computer were more likely than subjects in other groups to state that they enjoyed the survey (P less than 0.001). There were no differences in anxiety or the reporting of sexual behavior among subjects in the three groups. Adolescents who stated that they would prefer a computer interview (40%) said they would be more comfortable with the computer, and perceived the method as being fun, interesting, confidential, private, and easy. Computer interviews cannot replace the skills of a sensitive physician, but may be an acceptable and valid means of collecting information from adolescents under certain conditions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Computers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Random Allocation
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires