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01-08-2006 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2006

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2006

Comparison of Anonymous Versus Confidential Survey Procedures: Effects on Health Indicators in Dutch Adolescents

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2006
Auteurs:
Petra M. van de Looij-Jansen, Judith E. J. Goldschmeding, Erik Jan de Wilde
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Youth Department, Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area. Main research interests are emotional and behavioral problems of adolescents, youth health care, monitoring.
Youth Department, Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area. Main research interests are emotional and behavioral problems of adolescents, youth health care, monitoring.
Research Department, Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area. Major research interests include emotional and behavioral problems of adolescents, suicidal behavior, youth health care, monitoring.
Self-report questionnaires are frequently used in youth research, but doubt remains whether total anonymity affects the results. This study compared the responses of 704 mainly 16–17-year-old adolescents to self-report measures of various health indicators in 2 groups: anonymous and confidential collection. For most health indicators no significant differences were found. Perceived health, use of alcohol, and aggressive behavior (for boys) were reported significantly less frequently in the confidential group (small effect size). It appeared that pupils with high scores on social desirability do not respond differently at most health indicators in the 2 conditions. For most health characteristics, epidemiologically useful outcomes may be derived from confidential self-report measures, which are also valuable for detecting individual at-risk children. Similar studies in lower grades and other types of education should confirm the results.

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