The proposed research will evaluate the impact of commuter-assisted self- administered interviewing techniques on surveys measuring self-reported usage of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents and young adults. This will be one of the first systematic evaluations of computerized self-administered interviewing for sensitive drug use surveys. Core research questiOns include: (1)How will Computerization affect the willingness of respondents to reveal sensitive details of substanCe use? (2) How is social distance in the interviewer-respondent relationship affected by computerization? (3) How does computerization affect respondents' perceptions of anonymity and privacy during the interview, and their beliefs about the confidentiality of the data they provide? (4) How will the unique features available with computerized surveys affect survey results, such as on-line editing and the forced resolution of inconsistent answers; asking respondents to review and verify answers to key questions; and the computerized probing of """"""""don't know"""""""" known and vague responses? (5) Does the impact of computerization differ by respondent characteristics such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income, computer experience and attitudes, and degree of confidentiality concerns? To address these questions, a national field experiment (N = 3,000 completed interviews) will be conducted, with random assignment of respondents aged 12-34 to computerized versus traditional paper-and-pencil self-administered answer sheets for drug and alcohol use questions. In the computer mode, the respondents themselves would read preprogrammed questions on the screen of a laptop computer, and enter their responses on the keyboard. In addition to comparing computerized to paper-and-pencil interviewing, the experimental design will allow for rigorous testing of how the unique features available with computerized survey methods influence data quality. A pilot study in year 1 of the project (N =300) will be used to evaluate questionnaire construction and content, finalize study design, and debug the programming of the computerized SA0s. Dependent measures will include measures of the frequency, recency, and quantity of use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and crack, the nonmedical use of prescription drugs, inhalants and other illicit substances. in addition, measures of respondents' perceptions of response anonymity, social distance in the interviewer-respondent relationship, respondent beliefs about confidentiality, and respondents' computer experience and attitudes will be included.
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