Comparison of the unmatched count technique, face to face interview and the self-report questionnaire in estimating base rates of sensitive behaviour : unprotected sex and concurrent sexual partners.
Matlala, Reshoketswe Neo.
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There is a high rate of HIV/AIDS in the country and getting an estimate of the underlying contributing factors will help in creating interventions that will contribute towards reducing the high HIV rate. This study aimed to compare three methods the Unmatched Count Technique, Face to Face Interview and Self Report Questionnaire to explore which one yields higher rates of disclosure to questions about sensitive behavior. It aimed to get an estimate of people that engage in unprotected sex as well as those that have concurrent sexual partners amongst students. This study used a quantitative experimental survey design to compare the three methods. The study used convenience sampling and the questionnaires were randomised using the random number generator. A total of 283 questionnaires were analyzed. The study found mixed results. The Unmatched Count Technique did not produce higher base rates than the Self Report Questionnaire and Face to Face Interview on all the sensitive questions as there were instances in which more respondents in the SRQ and FTFI endorsed the sensitive statement than in the UCT. The UCT produced negative numbers and it yielded lower levels of disclosure than the SRQ and FTFI on some of the sensitive statements. The SRQ was expected to elicit higher base rate estimates than the FTFI but instead the study found that the SRQ only elicited higher reporting for one sensitive statement out of five. No statistically significant results were obtained for differences in disclosure levels of unprotected sex and multiple concurrent partners between the UCT, SRQ and FTFI on most of the questions. Accurate reporting of sexual behaviour is crucial especially in contexts where the major route of HIV transmission is through sexual intercourse. It is crucial in the creation of interventions that will respond directly to the problem. With the study having produced mixed results further research needs to be conducted in this area.