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VOLUME 43 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2008


Comparison of Web-Based versus Paper-and-Pencil Self-Administered Questionnaire: Effects on Health Indicators in Dutch Adolescents

Objective. The aim of this study is to investigate differences in responses related to (mental) health and behavior between two methods of data collection: web-based (web) and paper-and-pencil (p&p).

Study Design. Within each participating school all third-grade classes (mainly 14–15-year-old pupils) were randomly assigned to either the Internet condition (n=271) or the paper-and-pencil condition (n=261).

Principal Findings. Significant but small differences were found for the strengths and difficulties subscales "emotional symptoms" (p&p>web) and "prosocial behavior" (p&p>web), and carrying a weapon (web>p&p). Perceived level of privacy and confidentiality did not differ between the two modes.

Conclusions. The findings suggest that in a controlled school setting, web-based administration of health indicators yields almost the same results as paper-and-pencil administration. To generalize these findings, we recommend repeated studies in other populations and settings.

 

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