Accuracy of “Last Occasion” Self-Reported Drinking in Young Adults
Many studies rely on self-report of alcohol consumption, which may lead to a biased estimate of use. To assess the accuracy of "last occasion" self-reported alcohol consumption, researchers conducted a field study wherein individuals aged 18–25 were asked to report their alcohol consumption 1–2 days after being observed by peer-based researchers at various nightlife locations. The relationship between observed and reported consumption was assessed using multilevel models (129 observations for 48 individuals).
- Overall, participants reported 9% fewer drinks than they actually drank.
- There was a nonlinear relationship between reported and actual consumption:
- Individuals drinking >8 drinks underestimated their consumption by increasing amounts (for example, those who consumed 12 drinks underestimated by 10.3% (1.3 drinks), while those who consumed 20 drinks underestimated by 17.6% (3.5 drinks).
- Individuals engaging in less drinking (i.e., those who reported drinking ≤4 drinks or 5–8 drinks) accurately estimated their consumption.
- Venue type did not impact the accuracy of self-report.