On the potential implications of reports of fictitious drug use for survey research on juvenile delinquency

Ryan Charles Meldrum, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of methodological issues have been raised over self-reports of delinquency and its correlates. In this study, we call attention to the provision of untruthful information and provide an investigation of this issue using a survey item that assesses a respondents use of a fictitious drug in relation to reports of delinquency and traditional criminological correlates. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted based on data drawn from a probability sample of middle and high school students in Florida. Results show (a) there are important differences on key criminological variables between respondents who report use of a fictitious drug and those who do not; (b) the internal consistency of a variety index of delinquency is particularly sensitive to the inclusion of respondents reporting the use of a fictitious drug; and (c) the effect size of some criminological variables on delinquency may be sensitive to controlling for reports of fictitious drug use. Overall, the inclusion of fictitious drug use items within etiological models may serve as a useful approach to further establishing the reliability and validity of information provided by survey respondents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-1005
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • delinquency
  • false reporting
  • reliability
  • untruthfulness
  • validity

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