Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 923290, 21 pages
Review Article

Sources of Error in Substance Use Prevalence Surveys

Survey Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago, 412 S. Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607, USA

Received 30 April 2014; Accepted 13 October 2014; Published 5 November 2014

Academic Editor: David A. Sleet

Copyright © 2014 Timothy P. Johnson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Population-based estimates of substance use patterns have been regularly reported now for several decades. Concerns with the quality of the survey methodologies employed to produce those estimates date back almost as far. Those concerns have led to a considerable body of research specifically focused on understanding the nature and consequences of survey-based errors in substance use epidemiology. This paper reviews and summarizes that empirical research by organizing it within a total survey error model framework that considers multiple types of representation and measurement errors. Gaps in our knowledge of error sources in substance use surveys and areas needing future research are also identified.