What happens to agreement over time? A longitudinal study of self-reported substance use compared to saliva toxicological testing among subsidized housing residents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The agreement between self-reported and toxicologically verified substance use provides important information about the validity of self-reported use. While some studies report aggregate agreement across follow-up points, only a few have examined the agreement at each time point separately. An overall rate of agreement across time may miss changes that occur as people progress through a research study. In this study, a sample of 644 adults (43.8% male, 32.6% White, 57.0% Black, 90.2% ages 36+) residing in subsidized housing was used to determine the agreement between self-reported use and saliva toxicological testing for marijuana, cocaine, PCP, amphetamine, and methamphetamine at three different time points. Agreement between saliva toxicological testing and self-report ranged between 84.2% and 94.3% for different substances over time. Higher rates of agreement were found for cocaine than had been reported by previous studies. Statistically significant differences in the odds ratios of concordance over time (baseline, 6-month, and 12-month follow-up) were found for marijuana and the combined category for PCP, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. Our findings suggest that oral fluid drug tests generally withstand community field assessments and result in relatively high levels of agreement for marijuana, cocaine, PCP, amphetamine, and methamphetamine use, when compared to self-report. Because of the ease of sample collection and low chance of adulteration, we conclude that saliva testing is a viable method for toxicological confirmation of substance use behavior in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Volume101
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Agreement
  • Oral fluid drug test
  • Self-report
  • Subsidized housing
  • Substance use
  • Timeline follow-back

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