Have Mischievous Responders Misidentified Sexual Minority Youth Disparities in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health?Arch Sex Behav. 2018 05; 47(4):1053-1067.AS
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) has been instrumental in identifying sexual minority youth health disparities. Recent commentary suggested that some Wave 1 youth responders, especially males, intentionally mismarked same-sex attraction and, as a result, published reports of health disparities from these data may be suspect. We use two recently developed approaches to identify "jokesters" and mischievous responding and apply them to the Add Health data. First, we show that Wave 1 same-sex attracted youth, including those who later reported completely heterosexual identities in adulthood, were no more likely than different-sex attracted youth and consistently heterosexual participants to be "jokesters." Second, after accounting for mischievous responses, we replicated six previously established disparities: depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation and behaviors, alcohol use, cocaine use, parental satisfaction, and school connectedness. Accounting for mischievousness resulted in the elimination of one observed disparity between heterosexual and sexual minority youth: suicidal ideation for males who reported romantic attraction to both sexes. Results also showed that accounting for mischievous responding may underestimate disparities for sexual minority youth, particularly females. Overall, results presented here support previous studies that identified health disparities among sexual minority youth using these data.