Health Services Research & Development

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Black AC, McMahon TJ, Brecht ML, Rosen MI. Tailoring and Testing an Event History Calendar of Lifetime Sexual Partnerships for Military Veterans. Military psychology : the official journal of the Division of Military Psychology, American Psychological Association. 2018 Aug 3; 30(5):415-429.
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Abstract: Researchers have explored broadly the effects of military service and service-related experiences on sexual and intimate relationships among Veterans. However, descriptions of patterns of relationship functioning over time are lacking. Such information could advance an understanding of the course of relationships pre-, during, and postdeployment and be used to predict relationship outcomes and tailor clinical supports. In this study, we describe an adaptation of a life history calendar to collect detailed sexual relationship and life event histories from military Veterans. With a sample of 112 post-9/11-era Veterans, in the context of a broader assessment battery, lifetime sexual relationship histories were collected by the calendar and concurrently by a standard questionnaire. Assessment order was balanced, and the order effect on individual outcomes, and on agreement between assessments, was examined. Measures collected by the calendar were evaluated for retest reliability, agreement with the standard questionnaire, and construct validity. Results revealed highly variable partnering histories, and a more-than-typical number of lifetime partners reported by Veterans. Psychometric indices provided support for use of the calendar: self-reports were reliable over a 6-week retest period and correlations with theoretically related variables were stronger for variables measured by the calendar data than the same variables measured by standard questionnaire. Large discrepancies in self-reports between assessment methods among Veterans with more complex sexual histories highlighted the need for structured memory supports as provided by the calendar. Other advantages of calendar-derived histories over those assessed by standard questionnaire are discussed.