An experimental study of the agreement of self-administration and telephone administration of the timeline followback interview

Stephen A. Maisto, Joseph C. Conigliaro, Adam J. Gordon, Kathleen A. McGinnis, Amy C. Justice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The Timeline Followback (TLFB) interview has become state-of-the-science for the collection of retrospective self-reports of daily alcohol consumption. Such data are especially useful for addressing questions of the co-occurrence of quantity of alcohol consumption and other behaviors, such as HIV-related risky sex, on the event level. The purpose of this study was to determine if the TLFB could be used effectively by self-administration compared with the more costly telephone interview in a large, multisite observational study of HIV-positive and HIV-negative adults. Method: An experimental design was used to compare self-administered and telephone-administered TLFB modes in a subsample (N = 70) of the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, an ongoing longitudinal study of more than 6,000 HIV-positive and HIV-negative men and women presenting for treatment at eight Department of Veterans Affairs Infectious Disease or General Medicine clinics. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental groups defined by mode and sequence of a TLFB administration on two occasions occurring within 1 week: telephone-telephone, telephone-self, self-telephone, and self-self. Results: Analyses showed no differences in median total number of drinks reported between modes of TLFB administration or sequence of mode of administration. The same findings held for classification of participants as "hazardous" drinkers. Additional analyses showed good-to-excellent test-retest reliability of self-reports for both modes of TLFB administration. Conclusions: The data derived from this study provide strong experimental evidence for the utility of the self-administered, 30-day TLFB in collecting daily alcohol consumption in large observational studies of HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-471
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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