Using a timeline followback (TLFB) to assess health behaviors such as alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, and medication adherence has been around for decades. So how accurate is it? Comparing online monthly recall TLFB to daily dairy collection we see that timeline collection is valid for overall engagement in these health behaviors, but underreporting still occurs.
Not exactly ground-breaking, but a necessary part of science! We're always trying to sort out the best way to study behaviors, especially because it's pretty tricky when people may be embarrassed about them or have a tough time remembering them. In this paper, we showed that one useful approach to collecting data about sensitive behaviors is to ask participants to recount them, day-by-day.