Measuring and assessing variability of data on self-reported sexual behaviour collected using different methods

Mzimela, Adelaide Misiwe (2007-03)

Assignment (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigated the variability in self-reported sexual behavior data collected using different methods. The motivation for the study was to better understand sexual behaviour as a means of reducing HIV incidence among women. Respondents for the study were women enrolled in the Microbicides Development Programme pilot study at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies in the Umkhanyakude district of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. These 51 women were asked to use a placebo vaginal gel before sex for 4 weeks. Three methods of sexual behaviour data collection were used in order to evaluate the accuracy of data collected. A coital diary was kept for all 4 weeks, a sexual behaviour questionnaire was administered at the end of 4 weeks and then an in-depth interview was conducted within the following week. Variations in reporting were subsequently probed regarding reporting of the number of sex acts, condom usage, and gel usage. There was a variance in individual reports – using different data collection tools – of numbers of sexual acts, condom use, and gel use. The majority of discrepancies were reported by the women to be due to misunderstandings or recall bias. The study concludes that using multiple methods of sexual behaviour data collection methods adds value in terms of being able to report on the level of variance thereby improving the confidence with which the data can be interpreted. Further analysis of the in-depth interviews is necessary to assess the level of social desirability bias. Variability does exist among data collection methods, but case record forms could be used as a substitute for in depth interviews in large scale microbicides clinical trials since this variability is not major.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het die afwyking in self-aangemelde seksuele gedrag deur verskillende metodes bestudeer. Die motivering vir die studie was om seksuele gedrag beter te verstaan en die kennis aan te wend as ‘n metode om MIV infeksie by vroue te verminder. Respondente vir die studie was ingeskrewe vroue in die ‘Microbicides Development Programme’ loods navorsingsprojek by die ‘Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies’ in die Umkhanyakude distrik van KwaZulu-Natal, Suid-Afrika. Hierdie 51 vroue is gevra om vir 4 weke ʼn placebo jel te gebruik voordat hulle seksueel verkeer. Drie metodes is gebruik om data te versamel oor seksuele gedrag om die akkuraatheid van die data te evalueer. Respondente is gevra om dagboek van hul seksuele aktiwiteite vir die 4 weke te hou, om ʼn seksuele gedrag vraelys aan die einde van die 4 weke voltooi, en 'n diepte onderhoud binne die volgende week te voer. Afwykings in verslaggewing is verder bespreek met betrekking tot die aantal seksuele dade, gebruik van kondome en gebruik van jel. Daar was afwyking in individuele rapportering – deur verskeie data insamelings gereedskap te gebruik – van aantal seksuele dade, kondoom gebruik, en die gebruik van jel. Die meerderheid van hierdie afwykings wat gerapporteer is, was as gevolg van misverstande en onewewigtige herroepping. Die gevolgtrekking van hierdie studie is dat die gebruik van veelvuldige metodes om inligting oor seksuele gedrag te versamel die waarde verhoog in terme van die vermoë om te rapporteer oor die vlak van afwyking en daardeur verhoog dit die akkuraatheid waarmee die inligting verklaar kan word. Verdere analise van die in-diepte onderhoude is nodig om die vlak van sosiale aanvaarbaarheid te bepaal. Daar bestaan veranderlikheid tussen die verskillende data insamelingsmetodes, maar ‘n siekteverslag kan in-diepte onderhoude in grootskaalse kliniese eksperimente vervang, aangesien die veranderlikheid nie groot is nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20882
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