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Reliability of Reported Sexual Partnership Dates and Measures of Concurrency

Presented at the Workshop on the Current Chlamydia Epidemic in Western Societies, Stockholm, 30-31 Aug 2007

44 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2014  

Devon D. Brewer

Interdisciplinary Scientific Research

Stephen Q. Muth

Quintus-ential Solutions

John M. Roberts Jr.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

John J. Potterat

Independent

Date Written: August 30, 2007

Abstract

The timing of sexual partnerships constrains the potential flow of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is crucial to determine the quality of reported data on sexual partnership timing for both scientific and practical purposes. Temporal data on partnerships are used in contact tracing for STIs to identify sex partners at risk, prioritize partners for intervention, and classify source and spread cases.

We observed fairly good test-retest (consistency of repeated reports) and interpartner (agreement between partners in a dyad) reliability of reported partnership timing in six contact tracing data sets and one study of sexual networks. Interviewees reported dates of last sex more reliably than dates of first sex. Heaping in the differences between dates reported in repeated interviews corresponded to the temporal units used in reporting dates (week, month, year). We found modest forward telescoping (reporting date of first sex in the second interview as having occurred more recently than reported in the first interview) in one data set involving primarily young adults whose intervals between interviews tended to be several months or more. Recent events, shorter intervals between interviews, and having the same interviewer across interviews were independently associated with higher test-retest reliability. Also, females were more perfectly reliable (identical reports in repeated interviews) than males, but not more reliable overall. Reliability of reported partnership duration, ordering, and concurrency was moderately high to high.

Keywords: infectious disease, sexually transmitted disease, contact tracing, research methods, interviewing, memory, epidemiology

JEL Classification: C42, C80, I18

Suggested Citation

Brewer, Devon D. and Muth, Stephen Q. and Roberts, John M. and Potterat, John J., Reliability of Reported Sexual Partnership Dates and Measures of Concurrency (August 30, 2007). Presented at the Workshop on the Current Chlamydia Epidemic in Western Societies, Stockholm, 30-31 Aug 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2542657

Devon D. Brewer (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Scientific Research ( email )

P.O. Box 15110
Seattle, WA 98115
United States
206-985-2398 (Phone)
815-301-8854 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.interscientific.net

Stephen Q. Muth

Quintus-ential Solutions ( email )

1013 East Las Animas Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States

John M. Roberts Jr.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee ( email )

Bolton Hall 802
3210 N. Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

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