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The Results of an Experiment: Effects of Intensive Longitudinal Data Collection on Pregnancy and Contraceptive Use

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionBarber, Jennifer S., Heather H. Gatny, and Yasamin Kusunoki. 2012. "The Results of an Experiment: Effects of Intensive Longitudinal Data Collection on Pregnancy and Contraceptive Use." PSC Research Report No. 12-781. December 2012.

Some aspects of sexual behavior, pregnancy, and contraceptive use may be difficult for survey respondents to remember. The Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study conducted weekly survey interviews about these topics with 1,000 respondents. One potential drawback of this intensive longitudinal data collection strategy is that repeatedly asking respondents about these behaviors may affect the behaviors themselves. An experiment was conducted on 200 subjects, who were randomly assigned to either a control or experimental group. Subjects in the control group were interviewed at the beginning of the study (baseline interview) and twelve months later (closeout interview). Subjects in the experimental group were interviewed at the beginning of the study and twelve months later, but also completed a five-minute web- or phone-based survey every week during the twelve month study period. Rates of pregnancy and contraceptive use are compared for the control and experimental groups. There were no differences in pregnancy rates and overall levels of contraceptive use and consistency of use were not different in the control and experimental groups. We conclude that intensive longitudinal data collection does not appear to have a consistent or large impact on pregnancy, contraceptive use, or related attitudes.

Country of focus: United States of America.

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