Assessing knowledge of human papillomavirus and collecting data on sexual behavior: computer assisted telephone versus face to face interviews

Smith, Anthony; Lyons, Anthony; Pitts, Marian; Croy, Samantha; Ryall, Richard; Garland, Suzanne; Mee Lian Wong; Eng Hseon Tay
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9, p429
Academic Journal
Background: Education campaigns seeking to raise awareness of human papillomavirus (HPV) and promoting HPV vaccination depend on accurate surveys of public awareness and knowledge of HPV and related sexual behavior. However, the most recent population-based studies have relied largely on computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) as opposed to face to face interviews (FTFI). It is currently unknown how these survey modes differ, and in particular whether they attract similar demographics and therefore lead to similar overall findings. Methods: A comprehensive survey of HPV awareness and knowledge, including sexual behavior, was conducted among 3,045 Singaporean men and women, half of whom participated via CATI, the other half via FTFI. Results: Overall levels of awareness and knowledge of HPV differed between CATI and FTFI, attributable in part to demographic variations between these survey modes. Although disclosure of sexual behavior was greater when using CATI, few differences between survey modes were found in the actual information disclosed. Conclusion: Although CATI is a cheaper, faster alternative to FTFI and people appear more willing to provide information about sexual behavior when surveyed using CATI, thorough assessments of HPV awareness and knowledge depend on multiple survey modes.


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