Impact of response options and feedback about response inconsistencies on frequency of alcohol use self-reports by microcomputer

Ron D. Hays, Robert M. Bell, James J. Gillogly, Laural Hill, Dennis Giroux, Claude Davis, Matthew W. Lewis, Teresa M. Damush, Ronald Nicholas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Frequency of alcohol use during the last 7, 30 and 90 days was assessed as part of a microcomputer interview administered at intake to 832 clients court-referred to west coast drinking driver treatment programs. The impact of three methodological factors on self-reported frequency of alcohol use was evaluated: (1) the precision of the response options; (2) order of presentation of close-ended response options; and (3) relative placement of items in the questionnaire. Greater frequency of alcohol use in the last 7 days and last 90 days were reported when items were administered using vague quantifiers (e.g., Several Days) rather than more precise response options. In addition, greater frequency of last 30 days alcohol use was reported when the higher frequency response options were presented above lower frequency response options. Respondents reported greater frequency of 5 or more drinks in the last 30 days and greater frequency of alcohol use in the last 90 days when items were administered earlier rather than later in the interview. Five percent (n=45) of the sample displayed some degree of inconsistency in their frequency of alcohol use self-reports. Giving feedback about response inconsistencies by microcomputer and providing an opportunity to respond again resulted in 69% (n-31 out of 45) of the inconsistent respondents changing their self-reports; 45% of these individuals (n=14) became consistent in their self-reports. However, an equivalent number of clients (n-12) who were originally consistent in their responses became inconsistent when they were given the opportunity to respond again.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alcohol and Drug Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Hays, R. D., Bell, R. M., Gillogly, J. J., Hill, L., Giroux, D., Davis, C., Lewis, M. W., Damush, T. M., & Nicholas, R. (1997). Impact of response options and feedback about response inconsistencies on frequency of alcohol use self-reports by microcomputer. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 42(2), 1-18.