The reliability of high-risk adolescent girls' report of their sexual history

J Pediatr Health Care. 1996 Sep-Oct;10(5):217-20. doi: 10.1016/S0891-5245(96)90004-8.


The purposes of this study were to determine the consistency in sexually active adolescent girls' self-report of sexual history and to examine their perceptions of providing sexual history information in an interview. Twenty-two adolescent girls (86% black and 14% white) were recruited from an outpatient dysplasia clinic to be interviewed 2 weeks apart. The interview consisted of questions regarding sexual history and whether they viewed their age at first intercourse as too young, too old, or appropriate. After the second interview they were asked whether there were any questions for which they thought other teenagers would be tempted not to tell the truth and any questions that were too embarrassing. Significant correlations between visits were seen for each sexual history variable. Girls described number of sexual partners and sexually transmitted disease history as questions to which adolescents might not be truthful. As part of sexual history taking, health care providers should explore with adolescent girls their perceptions of their history and address any concerns the girls have that might lead to inaccuracies or prevent the girls from obtaining appropriate anticipatory guidance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*