Adolescence and early adulthood is a period of rapid change for young people worldwide. Demographers are particularly interested in how reproductive and sexual outcomes are shaped by these early life course transitions and contexts. Complex survey design and instrumentation, including ACASI, have yielded elaborate, high-quality data on adolescents in the U.S. Implementation of these methods is not always feasible or successful in developing countries, and therefore new approaches are needed. We develop a new survey method, the Relationship History Calendar (RHC), which collects detailed, 10-year retrospective data on the sexual histories and other life course events of youth. We assess the quality of sexual behavior data gathered with the RHC through a field experiment conducted in urban Kenya. We find that reporting on sexual behaviors is improved with the RHC, particularly for males, in comparison to a standard questionnaire, and that respondents enjoy and are more comfortable with the RHC.
Paper presented at the Population Association of America (PAA) conference in New Orleans, USA on 17-19 April 2008