Audio-computerized self-interviewing versus face-to-face interviewing for research data collection at drug abuse treatment programs

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Abstract

Aims

To assess audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (A-CASI) as a mode of data collection with injecting drug users (IDUs) entering two drug treatment programs in New York City. A-CASI has been found to increase reporting of sensitive items among a variety of population subgroups.

Design

A field test of A-CASI data collection conducted within an ongoing cross-sectional study of drug use and HIV risk behaviors among IDUs entering drug treatment. Participants were assigned without bias to either a computer-assisted interviewer-administered personal interview (CAPI) or to a mixed CAPI/A-CASI interview. In the latter, ‘sensitive’ portions (dealing with stigmatized behavior) of the questionnaire were self-administered through A-CASI, while the remaining portions were interviewer-administered.

Setting

The Detoxification Program and the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP) at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Participants

Seven hundred and eighty-three IDUs entering drug treatment.

Measurements

Odds ratios and adjusted odds ratios (controlling for demographic differences) for comparison of A-CASI versus CAPI responses on 111 sensitive questions.

Findings

Twenty-three statistically significant differences (each at P < 0.05), all in the direction of more reporting of the behaviors by the A-CASI group. Forty-one per cent of A-CASI participants said they would prefer any subsequent interviews to be fully A-CASI and 46% said they would prefer the mixed CAPI/A-CASI mode.

Conclusions

A-CASI was associated with greater reporting of potentially stigmatized drug, sex and HIV risk behaviors on a moderate number of questions. Moreover, a large majority of participants who used A-CASI would like to be assigned to this method of data collection in future interviews.

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