Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use in Population Surveys
Lana D. Harrison, Principal Investigator
Steven S. Martin, Co-Principal Investigator
Funding Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
This study sought to fill a void in our knowledge about the validity of survey data on drug use among the general population. General population surveys were major sources of individual-level social indicator data in the U.S. We relied on surveys to relay our national attitudes/behaviors on abortion, gun control, political affiliation, and a myriad of other areas including drug use. Respondents may misreport due to memory lapse, poor comprehension, or desire to deceive-either to conceal undesirable attitudes or to exaggerate desirable ones. Deception is often thought to be related to perceived social desirability, and reports of drug use-an illegal and socially proscribed behavior—are prime candidates for selected editing. The goal of this study was to establish methods to estimate misreporting and to encourage honest reporting.
Harrison, Lana D. 1994. “The Validity of Self-Reported Data on Drug Use.” Journal of Drug Issues 2 (1): 1-20.
Harrison, Lana D. 1997. “The Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use in Survey Research: An Overview and Critique of Research Methods.” Pp. 17-36 in The Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use: Improving the Accuracy of Survey Estates edited by Lana D. Harrison and Arthur H. Hughes. Rockville, MD: NIDA Research Monograph 167.
Harrison, Lana D., Martin, Steven S., Enev, Tiho, and Harrington, Deborah. 2007. Comparing Drug Testing and Self-Report of Drug Use among Youths and Young Adults in the General Population. Rockville, MD: DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4249.