Development of adolescent self-report measures from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

Renee E. Sieving, Trisha Beuhring, Michael D. Resnick, Linda H. Bearinger, Marcia Shew, Marjorie Ireland, Robert W. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Purpose: To present a set of multi-item indicators and associated reliability estimates derived from early research with survey data from adolescents participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Methods: Add Health provides information on the health and health-related behaviors of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, as well as on individual-level and contextual factors that either promote young peoples' health or increase their health risk. Specifically, the 135-page in-home adolescent survey instrument includes multiple items intended to measure individual-level and social-environmental constructs relevant to adolescent health and well-being. This article details the development of a set of multi-item scales and indices from Add Health in-home adolescent survey data. These steps include identification of inconsistent responders, use of a split-halves approach to measurement validation, and use of a deductive approach in the development of scales and item composites. Results: Estimates of internal consistency reliability suggest that many of the multi-item measures have acceptable levels of internal consistency across grade, gender, and race/ethnic groups included in this nationally representative sample of adolescents. In addition, moderate to high bivariate correlations between selected measures provide initial evidence of underlying latent constructs. Conclusions: This article provides adolescent health researchers with a set of methodologic procedures and measures developed in early research on the Add Health core adolescent data set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
During the preparation of the manuscript, authors were supported in part by grants from the Maternal-Child Health Bureau, HRSA; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS.

Funding Information:
This research is based on data from the Add Health project, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry (PI) and Peter Bearman, and funded by Grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with cooperative funding participation by the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; the National Institute of Drug Abuse; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the Office of AIDS Research, NIH; the Office of Behavior and Social Science Research, NIH; the Office of the Director, NIH; the Office of Research on Women’s Health, NIH; the Office of Population Affairs, DHHS; the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS; the Office of Minority Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS; the Office of Minority Health, Office of Public Health and Science, DHHS; the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, DHHS; and the National Science Foundation. Persons interested in obtaining data files from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health should contact Jo Jones, Carolina Population Center, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997 (E-mail:


  • Add Health
  • Adolescence
  • Health surveys
  • Self-report measures


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