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Examining Protocol Compliance and Self-Report Congruence Between Daily Diaries and Event-Contingent Ecological Momentary Assessments of College Student Drinking

Assessing college student alcohol use includes methodologies such as passive sensors, daily diaries, and ecological momentary assessments (EMA). This study looks at retrospective daily diaries and event-contingent momentary drinking logs (both self-initiated even-level methodologies) to compare reported alcohol use and subjective intoxication.

The study included 156 first semester female students at a public northeastern university. Participants competed an in-person training on how to use the mobile data collection application and how to measure and count standardized drinks. Participants then completed surveys in the morning and at the end of each drinking event for 14 days. Drinking behaviors were measured by participants self-initiating a drinking log to report drinking consumed during an event. Participants also completed daily diaries to report if they consumed alcohol on the previous day. Researcher’s assessed compatibility between daily diaries and momentary drinking logs, assessed protocol compliance, and looked at protocol compliance as a function of alcohol consumption and subjective intoxication.

Results showed participants reported an average of 5.1 drinks per drinking day via daily diaries and 4.71 drinks via momentary drinking logs. Subjective intoxication was higher in daily diaries than momentary drinking logs. It was discovered on a given drinking day, diary reports (96%) had higher compliance among the participants than momentary drinking logs (41%). Results also showed drinking logs were missing more information when there was higher alcohol use and subjective intoxication in the corresponding daily diary. Overall this study shows daily diaries may have more advantages than momentary assessments when assessing young adult’s alcohol consumption.

Take Away: This study looks at retrospective daily diaries and event-contingent momentary drinking logs to compare reported alcohol use and subjective intoxication. The study included 156 first semester female students who completed an in-person training along with daily surveys to assess alcohol use. Results showed that participants reported an average of 5.1 drinks per drinking day via daily diaries and 4.71 drinks via momentary drinking logs. It was discovered that on drinking day, diary reports (96%) had higher compliance among the participants than momentary drinking logs (41%). Overall this study shows that daily diaries may have more advantages than momentary assessments when assessing young adult’s alcohol consumption.

Hultgren, B. A., Scaglione, N. M., Buben, A., & Turrisi, R. (2020). Examining protocol compliance and self-report congruence between daily diaries and event-contingent ecological momentary assessments of college student drinking. Addictive Behaviors, 110, 106471. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106471

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