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The impact of response options for and location of frequency of alcohol use items in a self-administered microcomputer interview were evaluated in a randomized, experimental study of 296 clients at a West Coast treatment site for drinking drivers. Respondents were asked about their frequency of alcohol use in the last 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days; three methodological factors randomized were: (1) how quantitative the response options were; (2) order of presentation of close-ended response options; and (3) relative placement of alcohol use items in the questionnaire. Results indicate that these methodological factors had minimal influence on self-reports of the frequency of alcohol use. Only two statistically significant effects out of 44 possible were observed. The findings of this study suggest that frequency-of-alcohol-use reports by drinking drivers yield similar information for a range of different response formats and location of the items in a microcomputer interview.

Originally published in: Alcohol and Alcoholism, v. 29, no. 2, 1994, pp. 203-209.

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