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ACASI data collection was used to minimize underreporting of potentially embarrassing, stigmatized or illegal behaviors (Metzger et al.
However, as noted, the NLSY97 collected sensitive information using ACASI (Audio Computer Assisted Self-interview) technology in order to minimize measurement error.
ACASI respondents were significantly more likely to report sexual behaviors than those interviewed face-to-face.
Of particular note, women interviewed with ACASI were substantially more likely than women interviewed face-to-face to report having had anal sex, suggesting that this behavior might be under-reported by women in microbicide trials that use face-to-face interviews.
ACASI respondents were also more likely to report vaginal hygiene practices, such as drying the vagina after gel insertion.
For many behaviors, ACASI appears to encourage equal or greater honesty than conventional face-to-face interviews," says Population Council social demographer Barbara S.
We expected that the women using the ACASI system would be more likely than women being interviewed in person to report stigmatized behaviors, such as vaginal, oral, or anal sex without a condom, that could raise their risk of STIs," says Council social scientist Paul C.
Indeed, significantly more women using ACASI reported having anal or oral sex.
For example, among STI-positive women, those using ACASI reported an additional three unprotected sex acts on average compared with women interviewed face-to-face, whereas STI-negative women using ACASI reported only one additional sex act compared with STI-negative women interviewed face-to-face.
ACASI overcomes one of the biggest problems with drug abuse and HIV risk surveys by removing the need to have a real person asking the questions.
There is significant interest in ACASI from the HIV risk and drug abuse research community because several studies, including a 1997 paper by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, have shown that people are more comfortable admitting risky behaviors to a computer.
Larry Greenfield, president of Audio Data Systems, which will be selling and supporting ACASI.