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Drinking reports from collateral individuals


Gerard J. Connors
Research Institute on Addictions
1021 Main Street
NY 14203


Background and aims  Subject self-reports are the primary source of research and clinical data on drinking behavior. In this report, we review and summarize the current literature on the reliability and accuracy of alcohol abusers’ self-reports of alcohol consumption and related behaviors in relation to similar reports provided by collateral informants.

Conclusions  Recent research supports the assertion that subjects provide accurate reports about their drinking and associated consequences. When discrepancies have been observed between reports provided by subjects and collaterals, the subjects’ data in almost all cases have painted a picture of poorer functioning. The greatest degree of agreement between subjects and collaterals is likely when collaterals are in frequent contact with the subject, are spouse/partners and are confident about the reports they are providing.