The Effect of Computer-Mediated Administration on Self-Disclosure of Problems on the Addiction Severity Index

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Objectives:People tend to disclose more personal information when communication is mediated through the use of a computer. This study was conducted to examine the impact of this phenomenon on the way respondents answer questions during computer-mediated, self-administration of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) called the Addiction Severity Index-Multimedia Version (ASI-MV).Methods:A sample of 142 clients in substance abuse treatment were administered the ASI via an interviewer and the computerized ASI-MV, 3 to 5 days apart in a counterbalanced order. Seven composite scores were compared between the 2 test administrations using paired t tests. Post hoc analyses examined interviewer effects.Results:Comparisons of composite scores for each of the domains between the face-to-face administered and computer-mediated, self-administered ASI revealed that significantly greater problem severity was reported by clients in 5 of the 7 domains during administration of the computer-mediated, self-administered version compared with the trained interviewer version. Item analyses identified certain items as responsible for significant differences, especially those asking clients to rate need for treatment. All items that were significantly different between the 2 modes of administration revealed greater problem severity reported on the ASI-MV as compared with the interview administered assessment. Post hoc analyses yielded significant interviewer effects on 4 of the 5 domains where differences were observed.Conclusions:These data support a growing literature documenting a tendency for respondents to be more self-disclosing in a computer-mediated format over a face-to-face interview. Differences in interviewer skill in establishing rapport may account for these observations.

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