Inconsistent Reporting of Female Genital Cutting Status among Adolescent Girls in a Longitudinal Intervention Study in Northern Ghana
Reshma Naik, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Elizabeth F. Jackson, Population Council
Patricia Akweongo, Navrongo Health Research Centre
The difficulty of measuring behavior with self-reported data is rarely discussed in the literature of female genital cutting (FGC) research. This paper explores inconsistent reporting of circumcision status in longitudinal survey responses in the context of an intervention study to discourage the practice of FGC among adolescent girls in rural Ghana. Survey findings are used to explore the relationship between interview and interviewer characteristics and respondent answers to the question, "Are you circumcised"? In particular, inconsistent reporting in the form of reversal of a previous positive response, termed "denial", is examined for associations with interview characteristics and with the background characteristics of individual respondents. Bias in the reporting of circumcision status is explored in depth through analysis of a series of focus group discussions.