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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Validity of Self-Reports of Incidents of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Author(s): Upchurch, Dawn M.
  • Mason, William M.
  • et al.

Background and Objectives. Population parameter estimates for behavioral and contextual risk factors of STDs in individuals are currently unavailable. Surveillance data systems and clinical studies inherently can not provide this information. Nationally representative sample surveys that use self-reports of STD history are potentially better suited for this purpose. It remains to be established that self-reports are valid.

Goal of this Study. Assess the validity of self-reports of STD history among school-going adolescents.

Study Design. We compare gender and race/ethnicity differentials in self-report STD information in the mid-1990s National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health) with corresponding differentials obtained from CDC surveillance statistics.

Results. Add Health and CDC surveillance data yield similar results. Further Add Health analysis demonstrates that family structure, socioeconomic status, and neighborhood context contribute to STD presence at the individual level.

Conclusion. Self-reports of STD infection in a national sample of adolescents can be used to study behavioral and contextual risk factors.

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