Psychology, Department of



Anne C. Petersen

Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Adolescent Research 2:4 (1987), pp. 383–392. Copyright © 1987 Sage Publications. Used by permission.


Methodology texts frequently emphasize the limitations of self-report measures. Empirical information on the validity of self-report data, however, tends to be limited to particular topics and populations. This paper examines the validity of self-report data in a sample of young adolescents for whom objective and self-report data were available on course grades, height, and weight. A comparison of the two kinds of data generally supported the validity of the self-reports, although there was some evidence of response effects. It was concluded that while young adolescents exhibit some systematic errors in reporting, self-reports can provide a useful substitute for some kinds of objective data.