Reliability of Sexual Behavior Self-Reports in Male Couples of Discordant HIV Status.Given the presence of strong cultural taboos against the direct observation of people's sexual activities, most sex researchers rely heavily on self-reports (Catania et al., 1993). Therefore, the reliability of these measures is of crucial importance. Attempts to assess reliability have involved contrasting long- and short-term behavioral recalls (Kauth, St. Lawrence, & Kelly, 1991; McElrath, Chitwood, Griffin, & Comerford, 1994;), comparing testretest results (Mahler, Hull, Stebinger, Perry, & Frances, 1995; McKinnon et al., 1993; Saltzman, Stoddard, McCusker, Moon, & Mayer, 1987; Weatherburn, Hunt, Davies, Coxon, & McManus, 1991), and checking the congruence con·gru·ence
a. Agreement, harmony, conformity, or correspondence.
b. An instance of this: "What an extraordinary congruence of genius and era" of data obtained by different procedures (Boekeloo et al., 1994; James, Bignell, & Gillies, 1991; Siegel, Krauss, & Karus, 1994; Weatherbum et al., 1991) --including relating reported frequency of condom 1. condom - The protective plastic bag that accompanies 3.5-inch microfloppy diskettes. Rarely, also used of (paper) disk envelopes. Unlike the write protect tab, the condom (when left on) not only impedes the practice of SEX but has also been shown to have a high failure use and presence of STDs (Zenilman et al., 1995) and comparing the separate reports of primary partners (Coates et al., 1986; Darke, Hall, Heather, Ward, & Wodak, 1991; Jacobson & Moore, 1981; Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953; Levinger, 1966; Padian, 1990; Seage, Mayer, Horsburgh, Cai, & Lamb, 1992; Upchurch et al., 1991). The results of these studies have been mixed, some finding that the self-reports were reliable and others that they were not. Overall, the studies highlighted the influence of methodological and respondent variables on reliability (for a thorough review of methodological problems in sexual behavior sexual behavior A person's sexual practices–ie, whether he/she engages in heterosexual or homosexual activity. See Sex life, Sexual life. studies see Catania, Gibson, Chitwood, & Coates, 1990, and Catania, Kegeles, & Coates, 1990.). Finally, some authors have altogether criticized quantitative investigations of sexual behavior and have advocated, instead, for qualitative inquiries Qualitative Inquiry is an bi-monthly academic journal on qualitative research methodology. It focuses on methodological issues raised by qualitative research, rather than the research's content or results. References
If sexual matters are frequently shrouded shroud
1. A cloth used to wrap a body for burial; a winding sheet.
2. Something that conceals, protects, or screens: under a shroud of fog.
a. in secrecy, sexual behavior that carries the potential of HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. transmission is likely to be even more concealed. It may be particularly difficult for people in HIV serodiscordant se·ro·dis·cor·dant
Being a couple in which one partner has tested positive for HIV and the other has not. relationships (where one partner is HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative) to report high risk behavior given the social pressure to avoid such acts. Reliable and valid assessments of HIV-risk behaviors are critical to identify specific populations in need of intervention and to test the efficacy of any prevention program. Since no measure can be valid if not reliable, and given the absence of any published reliability study focusing specifically on HIV serodiscordant male couples, we saw a need to fill in this gap.
We had the rare opportunity of working with a group of 75 HIV-discordant male couples. We thoroughly explored the reliability of the reports the couples' members made of their behavior with each other in two ways: (a) We compared self-report to partner's report of anal sex Noun 1. anal sex - intercourse via the anus, committed by a man with a man or woman
anal intercourse, buggery, sodomy
sexual perversion, perversion - an aberrant sexual practice; , and (b) we analyzed an·a·lyze
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.
2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.
3. the test-retest reliability test-retest reliability Psychology A measure of the ability of a psychologic testing instrument to yield the same result for a single Pt at 2 different test periods, which are closely spaced so that any variation detected reflects reliability of the instrument of individual reports collected with a one-week interval.
Study participants were recruited in the New York Metropolitan area New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island is the most populous metropolitan area in the United States and the third most populous in the world, after Tokyo and Mexico City. through leaflets distributed at gay organizations (HIV support groups, recreational clubs, etc.), advertisements in gay and AIDS-related newsletters and magazines, and by word of mouth. The eligibility criteria were (a) 18 years or older, (b) involved in a relationship with another man for at least four months, and (c) one partner being HIV-positive and the other one HIV-negative. A total of 75 male couples who fulfilled the eligibility criteria participated in the study. The participants' mean age was 36 years (SD = 8; range 22 - 66), their average education 15 years (SD = 3; range 9 - 20), and their mean annual income $37,300. Their racial/ethnic distribution was 63% Caucasian, 16% African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. , and 21% Latino.
The assessment was divided in two parts: individual and joint (couple) assessment. The individual part consisted of an interviewer-administered section, which included the Sexual Practices Assessment Schedule - Couples version [SPAS-C] (Carballo-Dieguez, Exner, Gruen, & Meyer-Bahlburg, 1994; available from the first author), and a self-administered section. The interviewers were men who had been rigorously trained in psychosexual psychosexual /psy·cho·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al) pertaining to the mental or emotional aspects of sex.
Of or relating to the mental and emotional aspects of sexuality. assessment following procedures described elsewhere (McKinnon et al., 1993). Briefly, the training included desensitization desensitization
Treatment to eliminate allergic reactions (see allergy) by injecting increasing strengths of purified extracts of the substance that causes the reaction. both to sexual terms and to gay men's culture, mock interviews A mock interview is videotaped interview, and one of the very best ways to prepare for a real life employment interview. It allows you to gain experience and practice in answering questions which you are likely to be asked by the recruiter. , interviews with community candidates similar to those of the target population, and finally, actual interviews with study participants. All interviews were audio-taped and randomly reviewed by a supervisor for quality control.
In the opening remarks of the SPAS-C the interviewer warns the respondent that he will be asked detailed questions about his sexual behavior, and that the respondent may feel uncomfortable discussing such issues with a stranger. Reassurance REASSURANCE. When an insurer is desirous of lessening his liability, he may procure some other insurer to insure him from loss, for the insurance he has made this is called reassurance. is provided concerning the confidentiality of the interview and its scientific purpose. A vocabulary elicitation e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. phase follows during which various sexual practices are described in behavioral terms and the respondent's labels for such practices are elicited e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. . For example, we ask, "When a man puts his penis in someone's anus, what do you call it?" If during this phase the respondent uses only formal language, we volunteer vernacular ver·nac·u·lar
1. The standard native language of a country or locality.
a. The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language. See Synonyms at dialect.
b. terms to indicate that it is acceptable to use them. For example, we say, "Some people call it `penetration,' others call it `fucking'." At the end of the word elicitation, we check with the respondent whether formal or vernacular language feels more comfortable to him, and we use his choice for the rest of the interview.
The SPAS-C requests participants to recall their sexual behavior over the past year. Although we are aware that shorter recall periods improve accuracy, we inquire in·quire also en·quire
v. in·quired, in·quir·ing, in·quires
1. To seek information by asking a question: inquired about prices.
2. about the past year to capture seasonal variations, particularly with Latino participants living in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. who spend the summer in their Caribbean countries of origin, where sexual patterns may vary. To help participants to be precise about the time frame, we ask them to recall an event that happened the same month (or even the same day) the year before, and then to report all sexual activity from that date until the assessment date. When the number of sexual partners or sexual occasions is high, we help the participant calculate the monthly or weekly average and corroborate To support or enhance the believability of a fact or assertion by the presentation of additional information that confirms the truthfulness of the item.
The testimony of a witness is corroborated if subsequent evidence, such as a coroner's report or the testimony of other whether the numbers seem right to him. Next, we inquire about three different types of male sexual partners that the individual may have had during the previous year (lover, one night stand, and other). For each partner, we ask the frequency with which each of 35 sexual behaviors took place. All answers are given on a 5-point Likert scale Likert scale A subjective scoring system that allows a person being surveyed to quantify likes and preferences on a 5-point scale, with 1 being the least important, relevant, interesting, most ho-hum, or other, and 5 being most excellent, yeehah important, etc ranging from never to always. When the section on male partners is complete, we inquire about female partners. The joint assessment, which takes place after the individual administration of the SPAS-C to both members of the couple, consists of open-ended questions A closed-ended question is a form of question, which normally can be answered with a simple "yes/no" dichotomous question, a specific simple piece of information, or a selection from multiple choices (multiple-choice question), if one excludes such non-answer responses as dodging a that allow the interviewer to explore discrepancies in the types of behaviors that the primary partners reported having with each other.
Due to space limitations, this report focuses exclusively on anal sex, the behavior that carries the highest risk of HIV transmission. First, we calculated the prevalence of protected and unprotected anal sex, with and without ejaculation ejaculation /ejac·u·la·tion/ (e-jak?u-la´shun) forcible, sudden expulsion; especially expulsion of semen from the male urethra. . Second, we compared the report that one member of the couple gave concerning his anal sex behavior with his primary partner with the report of that primary partner. Third, we analyzed the level of agreement of a one week interval test-retest of 27 individuals--the first recruited.
Missing data. Important methodological issues need to be considered when assessing the reliability of a sexual questionnaire. The first one is how to handle data missing due to the skip patterns built into the instrument. To illustrate this problem, let us concentrate on the variables related to insertive anal sex and the question of intracouple reliability (though the same issues apply to the test-retest reliability analyses as well).
All participants were asked whether they had put their penis in their partner's rectum rectum: see intestine.
End segment of the large intestine (see digestion) in which feces accumulate just prior to discharge. It is 5–6 in. (13–15 cm) long and lined with mucous membrane. . They chose their answers from the 5-point scale (0 = never, 1 = infrequently in·fre·quent
1. Not occurring regularly; occasional or rare: an infrequent guest.
2. , 2 = half the time, 3 =frequently, 4 = always). Those who responded never were not asked the next question regarding whether they used a condom when they had insertive anal sex. When the reliability of the condom question is assessed, one needs to decide whether to include these individuals. Some would argue that they should not be included in the reliability analysis since they were not asked the question. However, their answers can be inferred from their previous response. If a researcher wanted to assess, for example, correlates of unprotected insertive anal sex, those respondents who did not engage in insertive anal sex could be included in the analyses as never having had unprotected insertive anal sex. Furthermore, it is conceivable con·ceive
v. con·ceived, con·ceiv·ing, con·ceives
1. To become pregnant with (offspring).
2. that respondent A could report engaging in insertive anal sex with B and consequently could be asked the condom question, while B could say he did not engage in receptive anal sex with A and not be asked the condom question. To exclude couples in this situation from the reliability analysis for the condom question might increase its apparent reliability but not fully reflect the available data. We consider that a more accurate test should include all participants in the reliability analyses regarding condom use. To do this we created a fifth category, so that responses to the question may range from 0 = never (had insertive anal sex but never used a condom) to 4 = always (had insertive anal sex and always used a condom) with an additional category, 5 = no unprotected insertive anal sex, because the respondent did not engage in insertive anal sex. This category was placed at the positive end of the response scale since that is consistent with the direction of the scale in terms of risk.
When the next question in the interview is considered (ejaculation without a condom), additional problems emerge. If a participant does not engage in insertive (or receptive) anal sex without a condom, he is not asked the question. If, following our previous reasoning, we want to include all participants in the reliability analyses, we need to create two additional categories. The highest risk corresponds to 4 = always (had unprotected insertive anal sex and always ejaculated) and the low end to 0 = never (had unprotected insertive anal sex and never ejaculated). The additional categories extend the low risk end of the scale with -1 = never ejaculated unprotected because a condom was always used, and -2 = never ejaculated unprotected because respondent did not engage in insertive anal sex.
Although this scale modification allows all participants to be included and uses all available information, it is debatable de·bat·a·ble
1. Being such that formal argument or discussion is possible.
2. Open to dispute; questionable.
3. In dispute, as land or territory claimed by more than one country. how accurately it assesses the reliability of the ejaculation question since the majority of the participants in the study would not have been asked that question. It may be more relevant to know whether there is a high degree of agreement regarding ejaculation among those who had unprotected insertive anal sex.
To deal with these issues, we conducted the analyses in two different ways that address somewhat different reliability questions. First, reliability was assessed with the responses given by couples where both members were asked the same question (or, for the test-retest analyses, with the responses given by an individual to the same question in two occasions). Taking condom use during insertive anal sex as an example, this approach answers the question of agreement regarding condom use in couples where A reports having engaged in insertive anal sex with B and B reports having had receptive anal sex with A. Analyses involving the ejaculation question assess agreement regarding ejaculation within couples where A reports having engaged in unprotected insertive anal sex with B and B reports unprotected receptive anal sex with A. A subsequent set of analyses includes the total sample available using the coding scheme outlined above. These analyses assess agreement on the overall pattern of responses to the set of questions regarding the given sexual practice. For example, analyses of the ejaculation question are not limited to those who had unprotected sex Unprotected sex refers to any act of sexual intercourse in which the participants use no form of barrier contraception. Sexually transmitted infections
Specifically, unprotected sex but also assess whether the reason the question was not asked is based on agreement in responses to the two prior questions.
Weight issues. The unweighted kappa Kappa
Used in regression analysis, Kappa represents the ratio of the dollar price change in the price of an option to a 1% change in the expected price volatility.
Remember, the price of the option increases simultaneously with the volatility. statistic statistic,
n a value or number that describes a series of quantitative observations or measures; a value calculated from a sample.
a numerical value calculated from a number of observations in order to summarize them. we initially used for this study (Cohen cohen
(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male. , 1960; Fleiss, 1981) is an index of exact agreement between two answers adjusted for the amount of agreement that would be expected by chance. This kappa answers the question of whether responses agree or not, regardless of the extent of the disagreement. That is, the pair of responses Half the Time and Frequently, (one point away on the response scale) is treated equally to the pair Always and Never (five points away). A second option is to apply a disagreement weight to each pair of responses (Cohen, 1968; Fleiss & Cohen, 1973). In general, the weights simply reflect the distance between the responses on the response scale. Therefore, perfect agreements are given a disagreement weight of 0. The disagreement between responses such as Infrequently and Half the Time or Frequently and Always get a disagreement weight of 1, being one point away from each other on the response scale. The pair of responses such as Infrequently and Always receive a disagreement weight of 3, being three points away on the response scale. However, we had an additional consideration in determining the appropriate weights. We considered that there was a more substantive and meaningful disagreement when one response was that the behavior never occurred and the other response indicated at least some occurrence of the behavior than a disagreement between two responses indicating different frequencies in the behavior. To reflect this situation in the case of insertive or receptive sex, we designed a weight system by which, for example, the response pair of Never and Infrequently receives a disagreement weight of 3 and the response pair of Never and Always receives a disagreement weight of 6--three points for a discrepancy DISCREPANCY. A difference between one thing and another, between one writing and another; a variance. (q.v.)
2. Discrepancies are material and immaterial. between Never and Infrequently and three additional points reflecting three more points separating the responses on the response scale (see Table 1).
Table 1. Values for Weighted Kappas for Frequency of Anal Penetration Never Infrequently Half the Time Never 0 3 4 Infrequently 3 0 1 Half the Time 4 1 0 Frequently 5 2 1 Always 6 3 2 Frequently Always Never 5 6 Infrequently 2 3 Half the Time 1 2 Frequently 0 1 Always 1 0
For the condom use questions, this greater disagreement weight occurs between 4 (always used a condom) and 3 (frequently used a condom, which indicates some unprotected sex). For the ejaculation questions, the greater disagreement weight occurs between 0 (never ejaculated) and 1 (infrequently, ejaculated, which indicates unprotected ejaculation occurred). Therefore, unweighted kappas are a more conservative assessment requiring exact agreement, while weighted kappas take into consideration the quality and amount of any observed disagreements. We have used both unweighted and weighted kappas in the analyses reported in the results section.
Nomenclature nomenclature /no·men·cla·ture/ (no´men-kla?cher) a classified system of names, as of anatomical structures, organisms, etc.
We followed the Landis and Koch's (1977) nomenclature to label kappa agreement points between 0 (no better than chance) and 1 (perfect), (Poor [is less than] 0.00; Slight = 0.00 - 0.20; Fair = 0.21 - 0.40; Moderate = 0.41 - 0.60; Substantial = 0.61 - 0.80; Almost perfect = 0.81 - 1.00).
To simplify the presentation of results, Table 2 shows the responses our participants gave to six questions concerning anal sex in a dichotomized fashion. The table shows that about half of the couples reported that they engaged in anal sex. Half of the HIV-positive men penetrated their HIV-negative partners. About half of the HIV-positive men reported being penetrated. Disagreement between partners on this issue was low, about one in ten couples. Unprotected anal sex was reported by 15% to 23% of the couples, and the HIV-positive partner was more likely to be receptive than insertive. In only one of the couples engaging in unprotected anal sex did one positive partner acknowledge having ejaculated in his partner's rectum, although this was denied by the partner. The converse (logic) converse - The truth of a proposition of the form A => B and its converse B => A are shown in the following truth table:
A B | A => B B => A ------+---------------- f f | t t f t | t f t f | f t t t | t t case (HIV-negative ejaculating inside the HIV-positive) was more frequent.
Table 2. Interpartner Agreement to Anal Sex Questions Binary Scale (Yes/No) Sexual Activity n(a) Both "Yes" Both "No" Does the HIV+ respondent penetrate 75 32 35 his partner? Does the HIV+ respondent penetrate 40(b) 11 27 his partner without a condom? Does the HIV+ respondent ejaculate 12(c) 0 11 in his partner's rectum? Does the partner penetrate the 75 35 30 HIV+ respondent? Does the partner penetrate the HIV+ 45(b) 17 19 respondent without a condom? Does the partner ejaculate in the 19(c) 4 7 HIV+ respondent's rectum? No Agreement Sexual Activity + Yes - Yes Does the HIV+ respondent penetrate 6 2 his partner? Does the HIV+ respondent penetrate 1 1 his partner without a condom? Does the HIV+ respondent ejaculate 1 0 in his partner's rectum? Does the partner penetrate the 4 6 HIV+ respondent? Does the partner penetrate the HIV+ 4 5 respondent without a condom? Does the partner ejaculate in the 5 3 HIV+ respondent's rectum?
Note. n = 75 mixed HIV-status couples. + Yes = HIV-positive partner replied yes, while HIV-negative partner said no. - Yes = HIV-negative partner replied yes, while HIV-positive partner said no.
(a) Inconsistencies in N due to missing data. (b) Includes couples where one or both members reported engaging in penetration. (c) Includes couples where one or both members reported engaging in unprotected anal penetration.
Table 2 also shows that in response to each of questions on anal sex there were some couples who offered conflicting information. Below, we examine this issue in detail and calculate reliability coefficients using the full Likert scale to increase the strictness of our analyses. Due to space limitations, only partial data is presented in tabular form Same as table view with respect to printed output. for illustrative il·lus·tra·tive
Acting or serving as an illustration.
Adj. 1. purposes.
Tables 3 and 4 show the interpartner agreement or disagreement in response to anal sex questions for the case of the HIV-positive partner penetrating the HIV-negative partner. The numbers in each cell represent the number of couples with a particular pattern of responses. For example, in the first line of Table 3 we see that in 35 couples both members agreed that the HIV-positive man never penetrated his HIV-negative partner during the twelve months prior to the interview; in that same line we see that there was one couple where the HIV-negative man said that he was always penetrated by his HIV-positive lover, while the lover said that this never happened. The diagonal cells in Tables 3 and 4 correspond to couple agreements.
Table 3. Congruence of Interpartner Responses to the Question "Did the HIV+ Respondent Penetrate his Partner?" According to Negative Partner According to Never Infrequently Half the Positive Partner Time Never 35 1 Infrequently 5 11 Half the Time 2 2 Frequently 1 Always 1 According to Negative Partner According to Frequently Always Positive Partner Never 1 Infrequently 1 1 Half the Time 1 Frequently 6 2 Always 2 3
Table 4. Congruence of Interpartner Responses to the Question "Did the HIV+ Respondent Penetrate his Partner With a Condom?"
According to Negative Partner Condom Use During Penetration Half the According to Positive Partner Never Infrequently time Condom use Never 1 Infrequently 1 2 Half the Time Frequently 1 Always No penetration(a) According to Positive Partner Frequently Always Condom use Never 1 Infrequently Half the Time Frequently 5 Always 1 20 No penetration(a) 2 According to Positive Partner No penetration(a) Condom use Never Infrequently Half the Time Frequently 1 Always 5 No penetration(a) 35
(a) Data excluded from the calculation of unweighted and weighed kappas that are restricted to actual answers.
The additional values computed following the application of the modified response codings previously described are indicated by the "No penetration" section. These data are excluded from the calculation of unweighted and weighted kappas that are restricted to actual answers, that is, to answers not inferred from previous answers. A similar procedure was employed to analyze the question "Did the HIV-positive positive respondent ejaculate ejaculate /ejac·u·late/ (e-jak´u-lat) to expel suddenly, especially semen.
ejaculate /ejac·u·late/ (e-jak´u-lat in his partner's rectum?"
Table 5 presents kappa values for the interpartner agreement to the six questions under study. It can be observed that all but one of the coefficients is significant at the p [is less than] .001 level, and that, following Landis and Koch (1977), most coefficients fall into the moderate to almost perfect agreement categories. The sole exception is the restricted kappa value for the ejaculation question, undoubtedly influenced by the small number of men answering it.
Table 5. Kappa Coefficients of Interpartner Agreement Kappa Unweighted Restricted(a) All(b) Question (n) (n) A. Did the HIV+ respondent .636 .636 penetrate his partner? (75) (75) B. Did the HIV+ respondent .768 .741 penetrate his partner with a (32) (75) condom? C. Did the HIV+ respondent NC(c) .774 ejaculate in his partner's (10) (74) rectum? D. Did the partner penetrate .513 .513 the HIV+ respondent? (75) (75) E. Did the partner penetrate .519 .579 the HIV+ respondent with a (35) (75) condom? F. Did the partner ejaculate .281(ns) .625 in the HIV+ respondent's (15) (68) rectum? Kappa Weighted Restricted All Question (n) (n) A. Did the HIV+ respondent .760 .760 penetrate his partner? (75) (75) B. Did the HIV+ respondent .763 .841 penetrate his partner with a (32) (75) condom? C. Did the HIV+ respondent NC(c) .741 ejaculate in his partner's (10) (74) rectum? D. Did the partner penetrate .699 .699 the HIV+ respondent? (75) (75) E. Did the partner penetrate .739 .700 the HIV+ respondent with a (35) (75) condom? F. Did the partner ejaculate .428 .656 in the HIV+ respondent's (15) (68) rectum?
Note. All kappas were significant at p < .001, with the exception of restricted unweighted kappa for question F (ns).
(a) Restricted to cases where both partners answered contingent question. (b) All cases included (except those with real missing data), (c) Not Calculated. Negative partners responses were a constant, all answered never.
The results of the test-retest analyses showed that weighted kappas involving the total sample ranged from .83 to 1.00. As in the intracouple reliability results, unweighted kappas were somewhat lower, although still quite high (.69 to 1.00).
As stated in the Methods section, the lack of concordance concordance /con·cor·dance/ (-kord´ins) in genetics, the occurrence of a given trait in both members of a twin pair.concor´dant
n. between partners in their reports of sexual behavior with each other was explored with open-ended questions formulated by the interviewer in the presence of both members of the couple. The main reasons for interpartner discrepancies were poor recall of infrequent in·fre·quent
1. Not occurring regularly; occasional or rare: an infrequent guest.
2. incidents, inaccurate restriction of the response to the given time frame, different views on what constitutes sex despite tight and detailed definitions in the assessment ("Maybe he counts when he puts movies on and I'm there"), and technical differences ("We don't use condoms for foreplay foreplay /fore·play/ (for´pla) the sexually stimulating play preceding intercourse.
The sexual stimulation that precedes intercourse. but [we use them] when one is about to come"). Finally, some men simply could not reach an agreement in the report of the sexual behavior they had with each other.
Approximately half of the men in this sample of couples of mixed HIV-status practiced anal sex, and between half and one quarter of those men did not use protection consistently (more detailed results on sexual behavior within these couples are reported in Remien, Carballo-Dieguez, & Wagner, 1996). Our results support the impression that, overall, the retrospective 12-month self-reports of anal sex in male couples of mixed HIV status are reliable. Primary partners confirmed, for the most part, the report of index respondents. Although initially we failed to find a significant agreement--beyond chance--in the responses to the question on whether the HIV-negative partner ejaculated inside the rectum of his HIV-positive partner, when the responses were weighted the values fell in the moderate agreement range.
The qualitative results show that the most frequent reasons for interpartner discrepancies are poor recall of isolated incidents, inaccuracy in·ac·cu·ra·cy
n. pl. in·ac·cu·ra·cies
1. The quality or condition of being inaccurate.
2. An instance of being inaccurate; an error. in limiting responses to the given time frame, different interpretations of what constitutes sex, and, occasionally, plain lack of agreement about what happened during the sexual encounter. These results call for the construction of assessments with improved accuracy. Perhaps further probing could be used in the case of absence of reporting of certain behaviors. For example, if someone said he penetrated his partner unprotected but never ejaculated inside his partner's rectum, the interviewer could ask "Not even once?" in an attempt to elicit e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. isolated incidents. This type of probing should be consistent throughout the questionnaire for any denial of risky behavior.
To deal with respondents' inaccuracy in limiting the period covered by their response to the one established in the assessment, shorter time frames may be utilized, as other authors have proposed (Kauth, St. Lawrence, & Kelly, 1991). This, however, does not solve the problem of seasonal variations in sexual behavior, especially in the case of populations that migrate to a different geographical area for vacations or work.
The persistence of idiosyncratic id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
3. interpretations to our sexual questionnaire showed the personal constructions respondents make of their sexual behavior. Confronted with the question "How frequently did you put the head of your penis in your partner's anus without a condom?" some individuals responded "never when I was about to ejaculate" but "frequently during foreplay." One could try to deal with this issue by stressing at the beginning of the interview that questions are not to be qualified by "ifs and buts," but a certain degree of personal interpretation is probably unavoidable. Those personal interpretations may constitute the most fertile ground to focus on during the development of primary prevention interventions.
The test-retest of participants provided additional support to the reliability of anal sex self-reports. Finally, the admittance Admittance
The ratio of the current to the voltage in an alternating-current circuit. In terms of complex current I and voltage V, the admittance of a circuit is given by Eq. (1), and is related to the impedance of the circuit Z by Eq. (2). of engaging in behaviors that are socially condemned con·demn
tr.v. con·demned, con·demn·ing, con·demns
1. To express strong disapproval of: condemned the needless waste of food.
2. further leads us to believe in the honesty of the reports, although, of course, we had no way of detecting couples where both participants may have failed to report their actual risky sexual behavior.
One obvious limitation of our study is that while our analyses have focused on the reliability of sexual self-reports, no claims can be made concerning their validity-the extent to which the measures actually reflect behavior (Catania et al., 1993; Zenilman, 1995). Other limitations include potential sample bias given our small number of participants, and the use of paid volunteers who may constitute an especially motivated group. Also, the participants' awareness that their partners were going to be asked the same questions and that discrepancies would be discussed may have further motivated respondents to provide accurate information. Finally, face-to-face interviews have resulted in reports of less risk behavior in some studies (Boekeloo et al., 1994). Within these constraints, however, our assessment offers satisfactory reliability.
Boekeloo, B. O., Schiavo, L., Rabin, D. L., Conlon, R. T., Jordan, C. S., & Mundt, D. J. (1994). Self-reports of HIV risk factors by patients at a sexually transmitted disease sexually transmitted disease (STD) or venereal disease, term for infections acquired mainly through sexual contact. Five diseases were traditionally known as venereal diseases: gonorrhea, syphilis, and the less common granuloma inguinale, clinic: Audio vs written questionnaires. American Journal of Public Health The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is a peer reviewed monthly journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The Journal also regularly publishes authoritative editorials and commentaries and serves as a forum for the analysis of health policy. , 84, 754-761.
Carballo-Dieguez, A., Exner, T., Gruen, R., & Meyer-Bahlburg, H. (1994). Sexual Practices Assessment Schedule-Couples Version (SPAS-C).
Catania, J. A., Coates, T. J., Peterson, J., Dolcini, M. M., Kegeles, S., Siegel, D., Golden, E., & Fulllilove, M. T. (1993). Changes in condom use among Black, Hispanic, and White heterosexuals in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden : The AMEN Amen: see Amon.
Expression of agreement or confirmation used in worship by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The word derives from a Semitic root meaning “fixed” or “sure. cohort study A cohort study is a form of longitudinal study used in medicine and social science. It is one type of study design.
In medicine, it is usually undertaken to obtain evidence to try to refute the existence of a suspected association between cause and disease; failure to refute . The Journal of Sex Research, 30, 121-128.
Catania, J. A., Gibson, D. R., Chitwood, D. D., & Coates, T. J. (1990). Methodological problems in AIDS behavioral research: Influences on measurement error and participation bias in studies of sexual behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 339-362.
Catania, J., Kegeles, S., & Coates, T. (1990). Towards an understanding of risk behavior: An AIDS risk reduction model (ARRM ARRM AIDS Risk Reduction Model
ARRM Army Range Requirements Model
ARRM Advanced RTS Response Module ). Health Education Quarterly, 17, 381-399.
Coates, R. A., Soskolne, C. L., Calzavara, L., Read, S. E., Fanning, M. M., Shepherd, F. A., Klein, M. M., & Johnson, J. K. (1986). The reliability of sexual histories in AIDS-related research: Evaluation of an interview-administered questionnaire. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 77, 343-348.
Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales See: principal scale; scale. . Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 37-46.
Cohen, J. (1968). Weighted kappa: Nominal scale agreement with provision for scaled disagreement or partial credit. Psychological Bulletin, 70, 213-220.
Darke, S., Hall, W., Heather, N., Ward, J., & Wodak, A. (1991). The reliability and validity of a scale to measure HIV risk-taking behavior among intravenous drug users. AIDS, 5, 181-185.
Fleiss, J. L. (1981). Statistical methods for rates and proportions (2nd ed.). New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : John Wiley John Wiley may refer to:
Fleiss, J. L., & Cohen, J. (1973). The equivalence of weighted kappa and the intraclass correlation In statistics, the intraclass correlation (or the intraclass correlation coefficient) is a measure of correlation, consistency or conformity for a data set when it has multiple groups. as measures of reliability. Education and Psychological Measurement, 33, 613-619.
Jacobson, N. S., & Moore, D. (1981). Spouses as observers of the events in their relationships. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (JCCP) is a bimonthly psychology journal of the American Psychological Association. Its focus is on treatment and prevention in all areas of clinical and clinical-health psychology and especially on topics that appeal to a broad , 49, 269-277.
James, N. J., Bignell, C. J., & Gillies, P. A. (1991). The reliability of self-reported sexual behavior. AIDS, 5, 333-336.
Kauth, M. R., St. Lawrence, J. S., & Kelly, J. A. (1991). Reliability of retrospective assessments of sexual HIV risk behavior: A comparison of biweekly bi·week·ly
1. Happening every two weeks.
2. Happening twice a week; semiweekly.
n. pl. bi·week·lies
A publication issued every two weeks.
1. Every two weeks. , three-month, and twelve-month self-reports. AIDS Education and Prevention, 3, 207-214.
Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W., & Martin, C. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: Saunders Co.
Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W., & Martin, C. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: Saunders Co.
Landis, J. R., & Koch, G. G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data categorical data
data relating to category such as qualitative data, e.g. dog, cat, female. It may be nominal when a name is used, e.g. location, breed, or ordinal when a range of categories is used, e.g. calf, yearling, cow. . Biometrics, 33, 159-174.
Levinger, G. (1966). Systematic distortion in spouses' reports of preferred and actual sexual behavior. Sociometry sociometry /so·ci·om·e·try/ (so?se-om´e-tre) the branch of sociology concerned with the measurement of human social behavior. , 29(3), 291-299.
Mahler, J., Hull, J., Stebinger, A., Perry, S., & Frances, R. (1995). Reliability of sexual risk behavior interviews on an alcohol rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. unit. Psychiatric psy·chi·at·ric
Of or relating to psychiatry.
psychiatric adjective Pertaining to psychiatry, mental disorders Services, 46(2), 115-117.
McElrath, K., Chitwood, D. D., Griffin, D. K., & Comerford, M. (1994). The consistency of self-reported HIV risk behavior among injection drug users. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 1965-1970.
McKinnon, K., Couruos, F., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Guido, J. R., Carballo, L. R., Margoshes, E. S., Herman, R., Gruen, R. S., & Exner, T. M. (1993). Reliability of sexual risk behavior interviews with psychiatric patients. American Journal of Psychiatry The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) is the most widely read psychiatric journal in the world. It covers topics on biological psychiatry, treatment innovations, forensic, ethical, economic, and social issues. , 150, 972-974.
Padian, N. S. (1990). Sexual histories of heterosexual heterosexual /het·ero·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al)
1. pertaining to, characteristic of, or directed toward the opposite sex.
2. one who is sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex. couples with one HIV-infected partner. American Journal of Public Health, 80, 990-991.
Parker, R. G., & Carballo, M. (1990). Qualitative research Qualitative research
Traditional analysis of firm-specific prospects for future earnings. It may be based on data collected by the analysts, there is no formal quantitative framework used to generate projections. on homosexual and bisexual bisexual /bi·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al)
1. pertaining to or characterized by bisexuality.
2. an individual exhibiting bisexuality.
3. pertaining to or characterized by hermaphroditism.
4. behavior relevant to HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome . The Journal of Sex Research, 27, 497-525.
Remien, R. H., Carballo-Dieguez, A., & Wagner, G. (1996). Prevalence and determinants of sexual risk behavior in male couples of mixed HIV status. Poster session A poster session is the juried presentation of research information by representatives of several research teams at a congress or conference with an academic or professional focus. These are particularly prominent at scientific conferences such as medical congresses. (MOD (1) See modulo and magneto-optic disk.
(2) (MODify or MODification) Refers to enhancements made by PC and gaming enthusiasts to their computer systems. "Modders" alter the standard desktop computer for looks, performance or both. . 1711) presented at the XIth International Conference on AIDS, Vancouver, Canada.
Saltzman, S. P., Stoddard, A. M., McCusker, J., Moon, M. W., & Mayer, K. H. (1987). Reliability of self-reported sexual behavior risk factors for HIV infection in homosexual men. Public Health Reports, 102, 693-697.
Seage, G. R., Mayer, K. H., Horsburgh, C. R., Cai, B., & Lamb, G. A. (1992). Corroboration of sexual histories among male homosexual couples. American Journal of Epidemiology epidemiology, field of medicine concerned with the study of epidemics, outbreaks of disease that affect large numbers of people. Epidemiologists, using sophisticated statistical analyses, field investigations, and complex laboratory techniques, investigate the cause , 135, 79-84.
Siegel, K., Krauss, B. J., & Karus, D. (1994). Reporting recent sexual practices: Gay men's disclosure of HIV risk by questionnaire and interview. Archives of Sexual Behavior Archives of Sexual Behavior is an academic sexology journal and the official publication of the International Academy of Sex Research.
Contributions consist of empirical research (both quantitative and qualitative), theoretical reviews and essays, clinical case , 23, 217-230.
Upchurch, D. M., Weisman, C. S., Shapherd, M., Brookmeyer, R., Fox, R., Celentanto, D. D., Colletta, L., & Hook, E. W. (1991). Interpartner reliability of reporting of recent sexual behaviors. American Journal of Epidemiology, 134, 1159-1166.
Weatherburn, P., Hunt, A. J., Davies, P. M., Coxon, A. P., & McManus, T. J. (1991). Condom use in a large scale cohort of homosexually active men in England. AIDS Care, 3, 31-41.
Zenilman, J. M., Weisman, C. S., Rompalo, A. M., Ellish, N., Upchurch, D. M., Hook, E. W., & Celentano, D. (1995). Condom use to prevent incident STDs: The validity of self-reported condom use. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Sexually transmitted diseases
Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely , 22, 15-21.
Manuscript accepted September, 16, 1998
Alex Carballo-Dieguez, Robert H. Remien, Curtis Dolezal, and Glenn Wagner HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute The New York State Psychiatric Institute, established in 1895, was one of the first institutions in the United States to integrate teaching, research and therapeutic approaches to the care of patients with mental illnesses. , New York City, NY and Columbia University Columbia University, mainly in New York City; founded 1754 as King's College by grant of King George II; first college in New York City, fifth oldest in the United States; one of the eight Ivy League institutions. .
The authors would like to thank Fernando Carnavali, Arthur Fox, and Ray Smith for their collaboration as research assistants; the administrative support of Roberta Leftenant; and the study participants who candidly can·did
1. Free from prejudice; impartial.
2. Characterized by openness and sincerity of expression; unreservedly straightforward: In private, I gave them my candid opinion. offered the intimate information that made this study possible.
Address correspondence to Alex Carballo-Dieguez, Ph.D., 1051 Riverside Drive A number of cities around the world have a Riverside Drive.
In the United States: