Careless Responding in Online Studies is Associated With Alcohol Use: A Mega-Analysis

Andrew Jones, Steven M. Gillespie, Charlotte R. Pennington, Justin C. Strickland, Eric Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The prevalence of research conducted online in the addiction field has increased rapidly over the past decade. However, little focus has been given to careless responding in these online studies, despite the issues it may cause for statistical inference and generalizability. Our aim was to examine whether alcohol use is associated with careless responses. Method: Raw data were requested from online studies examining alcohol use and related problems which also addressed careless responding. We obtained 13 data sets of 12,237 participants (M age = 42.16, SD = 15.65, 50.5% female). The sample had an average Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score of 10.88 (SD = 7.77). Predictors included demographic information (age, gender) and AUDIT total scores. The primary outcome was whether an individual was classed as a careless responder, for example, by failing an explicit attention check question. Results: AUDIT total scores were associated with careless responding (OR = 1.07, 95% CI [1.06, 1.08], p <.001). Hazardous drinking or worse was associated with 2.21 greater odds (OR = 2.21, 95% CI [1.81, 2.71] of careless responding, whereas harmful drinking or worse was associated with 3.43 greater odds (OR = 3.43, 95% CI [2.83, 4.17]) and probable dependence was associated with 3.63 greater odds (OR = 3.63, 95% CI [2.95, 4.48]). Conclusions: Alcohol use and related problems are positively associated with careless responding in online research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviours
Early online date20 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023, The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0; This license permits copying and redistributing the work in any medium or format, as well as adapting the material for any purpose, even commercially.

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  • Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test
  • alcohol use
  • attention
  • careless responding
  • online research


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