Comparison of 7‐day retrospective and prospective alcohol consumption diaries in a female population in Perth, Western Australia: Methodological issues

Billie CORTI, Colin W. BINNS , Peter A. HOWAT, Debra BLAZE‐TEMPLE, Sing Kai LO

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Abstract

The summer alcohol consumption of women living in metropolitan Penh was measured using both a retrospective and prospective diary. Overall, 1356 women fully completed both the retrospective and prospective alcohol consumption diaries. The prospective diary yielded a significantly higher level (9%) of consumption (p < 0.00001) compared with the retrospective diary. Although there was no significant difference in the percentage of women drinking at harmful levels (>280 g absolute alcohol per week) between the two diary methods, there did appear to be an important percentage difference (1.9% versus 2.8%) suggesting that the prospective diary did detect a larger percentage of women at risk. This would be both practically and statistically significant in large populations. The heavier the drinker the greater the variability in reported consumption between the two diary weeks. However, it is interesting to note that the direction of the variation depended on which diary was used as the base for classifying women as different types of drinkers. Women who drank at hazardous (140–280 g per week) or harmful (>280 g) levels during the retrospective diary week reported a lower level of consumption during the prospective diary week. Conversely women who drank at hazardous or harmful levels during the prospective diary week reported a lower level of consumption during the retrospective diary week. Possible explanations for these findings are explored and methodological considerations for future studies are discussed. Copyright © 1990 Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-388
JournalBritish Journal of Addiction
Volume85
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1990

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Western Australia
Alcohol Drinking
Population
Ethanol

Citation

Corti, B., Binns, C. W., Howat, P. A., Blaze‐Temple, D., & Lo, S. K. (1990). Comparison of 7‐day retrospective and prospective alcohol consumption diaries in a female population in Perth, Western Australia: Methodological issues. British Journal of Addiction, 85(3), 379-388. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1990.tb00654.x