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How do we assess the validity of answers to key items on tobacco use?

The PATH Reliability and Validity Study

How can we determine whether the data collected in a large study of tobacco use are accurate and reliable? The PATH Reliability and Validity Study tries to do exactly that—to assess the quality of the data in the PATH Study.

  • More than 500 respondents took the PATH Study interview twice, about 2 weeks apart.
  • Most provided saliva samples that allowed us to tell whether they had used tobacco recently.
  • With these data, we could find out whether answers to the PATH Study questions are reliable and truthful.
  • The study showed that survey data, even on sensitive topics like smoking, are of very high quality.
  • People almost always gave the same answers over the 2 interviews.
  • Their answers to questions about recent tobacco use almost always agreed with the saliva test results.

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