Validity of Self-Reports of Alcohol and Other Drug Use: A Multitrait-Multimethod Assessment

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Used 4 methods (self-reported rating, self-reported intake, peer-reported rating, and peer-reported intake) and multiple analytical criteria to assess the construct validity of reports of 3 types of substance use (alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes) in a study of 194 college students who were members of friendship pairs. Ss answered questions about their own use and their friend's use of substances, classified their own and their friend's use of each substance according to 6 categories, and completed scales measuring the negative consequences of marijuana and alcohol. The resulting multitrait-multimethod matrix was analyzed in the traditional fashion as well as with confirmatory factor analysis. Convergent and discriminant validity for the 3 substance use traits were quite adequate, although the validity of the peer-reported intake measure of alcohol use may be considered inadequate according to some criteria. Results demonstrate the usefulness of multimethod assessment and confirmatory factor analysis for research on construct validity and for derivation of more accurate measures of drug use.

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© 1985 American Psychological Association