Convergence of Online Daily Diaries and Timeline Followback Among Women at Risk for Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy

October 19, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Researchers and clinicians interested in assessing drinking and unprotected sex in evaluating risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancy (AEP) have limited options. The current investigation examined the degree to which data collected from online prospectively collected daily diaries (Diaries) converged with data from interviewer-administered retrospective timeline follow back (TLFB), the standard in AEP intervention studies. 71 women (Mage = 27.7, SD = 6.2) at risk for AEP were recruited via online advertising and were randomly assigned to an online patient education condition or a tailored, online internet intervention to reduce AEP risk. All participants were administered both Diaries and TLFB at baseline and 6 months after intervention. Key outcomes were variables of drinking rates and unprotected sex that combined to indicate risk for AEP. Zero-order and intra-class correlations (ICC) between Diaries and TLFB were strong for each outcome. Examination of ICC confidence intervals indicated that condition assignment did not have a significant impact on the degree of convergence between Diaries and TLFB. With the exception of proportion of days drinking and proportion of days with unprotected sex at baseline, none of the paired t-tests reached significance. Examination of descriptive statistics revealed that 63% of participants reported problem alcohol use and unprotected sex in both the 10-day Diaries and 90-day TLFB at baseline, with 70% agreement at post 6-month follow up. Findings indicate overall strong agreement between TLFB and Diaries in detecting alcohol use and unprotected sex in women at risk for AEP, and each method has benefits and challenges that should be weighed carefully by researchers and treatment providers.