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01-10-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2019

Measuring Daily Activity of Emerging Adults: Text Messaging for Assessing Risk Behavior

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2019
Lucía E. Cárdenas, Elizabeth A. Stormshak


We evaluated the validity of the use of an SMS text messaging survey for measuring daily life activity in a sample of emerging adults. Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging is a prevalent form of everyday communication in the lives of emerging adults, yet there is limited research on the use of automated text messaging as a data collection method in clinical research. Study participants were 274 ethnically diverse emerging adults (54.4% female, baseline age = 17–21 years), and constructs included alcohol use, substance use, school activity, peer interaction, mood, and interaction with parents. Participants responded to “bursts” that included multiple surveys during the course of 2 weeks, 6 months apart (a total of 13 texting surveys). Most of the questions were strongly associated across bursts. Findings revealed response stability for participating subjects across the 6 months and across the texting and self-report survey methodologies. Paired sample t-tests indicated that participants reported differently across data methodologies, which suggests that some data collection methodologies are best suited for certain types of constructs, such as alcohol consumption. Study results encapsulate the daily life of emerging adults and highlight the importance of evaluating the validity of SMS text messaging as a potential data collection device in future research.

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