Using Subject and Collateral Reports to Measure Alcohol Consumption

  • Stephen A. Maisto
  • Gerard J. Connors


In this chapter, we will review and discuss the literature on the use of collateral (C) and subject (S) reports in the measurement of a subject’s alcohol consumption. The word collateral has several definitions, but here it should be viewed to mean accompanying or concomitant. As regards assessment of alcohol consumption, C reports provide a second measure of a subject’s drinking. In practice, the subject is asked to report about his or her drinking during a given time period (one measure), and the collateral is asked to report on the same information (second measure). Collaterals may have any relationship to subjects (spouse, friend, supervisor, and so forth); the only requirement is that the person has some basis, such as opportunity to observe, for reporting about a subject’s drinking.


Alcohol Consumption Drinking Behavior Problem Drinker Percent Agreement Accurate Report 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    T. Myers (1983) Corroboration of self-reported alcohol consumption: A comparison of the accounts of a group of male prisoners and those of their wives/ cohabitees. Alcohol Alcoholism 18, 67–74.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. Cahalan, I. H. Cisin, and H. M. Crossley (1969) Am. Drinking Pract. (Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, New Brunswick, NJ).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. A. Marlatt, R. S. Stephens, D. Kivlahan, D. J. Buef, and M. Banaji, M. (1986) Empirical evidence on the reliability and validity of self-reports of alcohol use and associated behaviors. Workshop on the Validity of Self-Report in Alcoholism Treatment Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, February 25, 1986, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. K. Fuller, K. K. Lee, and E. Gordis (1988) Validity of self-report in alcoholism research: Results of a Veterans Administration cooperative study. Alcoholism: Clin, Exp. Res. 12, 201–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    T. D. Ridley and S. T. Kordinak (1988) Reliability and validity of the Quantitative Inventory of Alcohol Disorders (QIAD) and the veracity of selfreport by alcoholics. Am. J. Drug and Alcohol Abuse 14, 263–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    J. A. Gladsjo, J. A. Tucker, J. L. Hawkins, and R. E. Vuchinich (1991) Adequacy of recall of drinking patterns and event occurrences associated with natural recovery from alcohol problems (Auburn University, Auburn, AL) unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    H. A. Skinner (1984) Assessing alcohol use by patients in treatment, in Research Advances in Alcohol and Drug Problems, vol. 8, R. G. Smart, H. Cappell, F. Glazer, Y. Israel, H. Kalant, R. E. Popham, W. Schmidt, and E. M. Sellers, eds. (Plenum, New York), pp. 183–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    S. A. Maisto, J. R. McKay, and G. J. Connors (1990) Self-report issues in substance abuse: State of the art and future directions. Behav. Assess. 12, 117–134.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    L. Midanik (1982) The validity of self-reported alcohol consumption and alcohol problems: A literature review. Brit. J. Addict. 77, 357–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    L. T. Midanik (1988) The validity of self-reported alcohol use: A literature review. Brit. J. Addict. 83, 1019–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    U.T. Midanik (1989) Perspectives on the validity of self-reported alcohol use. Brit. J. Addiction 84, 1419–1423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    T. J. O’Farrell and S. A. Maisto (1987) The utility of self-report and biological measures of alcohol consumption in alcoholism treatment outcome studies. Advances Behav. Res. Therapy 9, 91–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    J.M. Polich (1982) The validity of self-reports in alcoholism research. Adtfict. Behav. 7, 123–132.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    L. C. Sobell and M. B. Sobell (1986) Can we do without alcohol abusers’ selfreports? Behav. Ther. 9, 141–146.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    J. J. Bartko (1976) On various intraclass correlation reliability coefficients. Psych. Bull. 83, 762–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    J. J. Bartko and W. T. Carpenter (1976) On the methods and theory of reliability. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 163, 307–317.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    E. L. Spitznagel and J. E. Heizer (1985) A proposed solution to the base rate problem in the kappa statistic. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 42, 725–728.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    A. Anastasi (1988) Psychological Testing, 6th Ed. (Macmillan, New York).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    D. N. Nurco (1985) A discussion of validity, Self-Report Methods of Estimating Drug Use. B. A. Rouse, N. J. Kozel, and L. G. Richards, eds. (NIDA Research Monograph No. 57. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC), pp. 6–11.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    J. A. Tucker, R. E. Vuchinich, C. V. Harris, M. G. Gavornik, and E. J. Rudd (1991) Agreement between subject and collateral verbal reports of alcohol consumption in older adults. J. Stud. Alcohol 52, 148–155.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    T. Babor, R. Stephens, and G. A. Marlatt (1987) Verbal report methods in clinical research on alcoholism: Response bias and its minimization. J. Stud. Alcohol 48, 410–424.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    F. Miller and A. Barasch (1985) The under-reporting of alcohol use: The role of organic mental syndromes. Drug Alcohol Depend. 15, 347–351.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    L. C. Sobell, T. Toneatto, M. B. Sobell, G. I. Leo, and L. Johnson (1991) Going to the source: Alcohol abusers’ perceptions of the accuracy of their selfreports of drinking (Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, Ontario), unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    R. Room (1989) Spouse reports versus self-reports of drinking in general population surveys. Paper presented at the 15th Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium, Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, June 11-16, 1989, Maastricht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    T. J. O’Farrell, H. S. G. Cutter, G. Deutch, and J. Fortgang (1984) Correspondence between one-year retrospective reports of pretreatment drinking by alcoholics and their wives. Behav. Assess. 6, 263–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    E. J. Freedburg and W. E. Johnston (1980) Validity and reliability of alcoholics’ self—reports of use of alcohol submitted before and after treatment. Psychol. Rep. 46, 999–1005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    S. B. Guze, V. B. Tuason, M. A. Stewart, and B. Pickens (1963) The drinking history: A comparison of reports by subjects and their relatives. Quarterly J. Stud. Alcohol 24, 249–260.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    M. Hesselbrock, T. F. Babor, V. Hesselbrock, R. E. Meyer, and K. Workman (1983) Never believe an alcoholic? On the validity of self-report measures of alcohol dependence and related constructs. Intl. J. Addict. 18, 593–609.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    K. Leonard, N. J. Dunn, and T. Jacob (1983) Drinking problems of alcoholics: Correspondence between self and spouse reports. Addict. Behav. 8, 369–373.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    S. A. Maisto, L. C. Sobell, and M. B. Sobell (1979) Comparison of alcoholics’ self-reports of drinking behavior with reports of collateral informants. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol 47, 106–112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    S. A. Maisto, M. B. Sobell, and L. C. Sobell (1982) Reliability of self-reports of low ethanol consumption by problem drinkers over 18 months of follow-up. Drug Alcohol Depend. 9, 273–278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    T. McAuley, R. Longabaugh, and H. Gross (1978) Comparative effectiveness of self and family forms of the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test. J. Stud. Alcohol 39, 1622–1627.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    B. S. McCrady, T. J. Paolino, and R. Longabaugh (1978) Correspondence between reports of problem drinkers and spouses on drinking behavior and impairment. J. Stud. Alcohol 39, 1252–1257.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    F. Miller, and A. Barasch (1985) The under-reporting of alcohol use: The role of organic mental syndromes. Drug Alcohol Depend. 15, 347–351.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    W. R. Miller, V. L. Crawford, and C. A. Taylor (1979) Significant others as corroborative sources for problem drinkers. Addict. Behav. 4, 67–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    T. Myers (1983) Corroboration of self-reported alcohol consumption: A comparison of the accounts of a group of male prisoners and those of their wives/ cohabitees. Alcohol Alcoholism 18, 61–74.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    T. J. O’Farrell, H. S. G. Cutter, G. Dentch, and J. Fortgang (1984) Correspondence between one-year retrospective reports of pretreatment drinking by alcoholics and their wives. Behav. Assess. 6, 263–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    J. B. Saunders, A. D. Wodak, A. Haines, P. R. Powell-Jackson, B. Portmann, and R. Williams ( 1982) Accelerated development of alcoholic cirrhosis in patients with HLA-B8. Lancet 19, 1381–1384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    A. W. Stacy, K. F. Widaman, R. Hays, and M. R. Dimatteo (1985) Validity of self-reports of alcohol and other drug use: A multitrait-multimethod assessment. J. Pers. Social Psychol. 49, 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    J. S. Verinis (1983) Agreement between alcoholics and relatives when reporting follow-up status. Intl. J. Addict. 18, 891–894.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    C. G. Watson, C. Tilleskjor, E. A. Hoodecheck-Schow, J. Pucel, and L. Jacobs (1984) Do alcoholics give valid self-reports? J. Stud. Alcohol 45, 344–348.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    L. J. Davis and R. M. Morse (1987) Patient-spouse agreement on drinking behaviors of alcoholics. Mayo Clinic Proc. 62, 689–694.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    G. J. Loethen and K. A. Khavari (1990) Comparison of the Self-Administered Alcoholism Screening Test (S AAST) and the Khavari Alcohol Test (KAT): Results from an alcoholic population and their collaterals. Alcoholism: Clin. Exp. Res. 14, 756–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    L. C. Sobell, M. B. Sobell, and T. Toneatto (in press) Recovery from alcohol problems without treatment, Self-Control and Addictive Behaviors. N. Heather, W. R. Miller, and J. Greeley eds. (Pergamon, New York).Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    G. Wolber, W. F. Carne, and R. Alexander (1990) The validity of selfreported abstinence and quality sobriety following chemical dependency treatment. Intl. J. Addict. 25, 495–513.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen A. Maisto
    • 1
  • Gerard J. Connors
    • 2
  1. 1.Brown University Medical SchoolProvidence
  2. 2.Research Institute on AlcoholismBuffalo

Personalised recommendations