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Completed Projects Georgia

Validity and Reliability of Self-reported Arthritis, Georgia Senior Centers, 2000–2001

Funding Number

U58/CCU 400591

Project Description

The purpose of this project was to asses the validity and reliability of the BRFSS arthritis case definition in a senior center population aged >50 years.

Because many persons with arthritis do not see a health care provider regularly for their symptoms, measuring the full burden of arthritis relies on self-reported data. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing telephone survey, is being used by states and the CDC Arthritis Program to measure the burden of arthritis. For the purpose of measuring burden, a “case of arthritis” is identified by a self-report of chronic joint symptoms and/or doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Unfortunately, the accuracy of this case definition and its implications has not been determined. For example, do persons meeting the case definition have clinically verifiable arthritis? A convenience sample of attendees in a variety (by geography, socioeconomic status, and race) of 12 senior centers in Georgia was administered using the BRFSS. The data was examined by board-certified rheumatologists to determine if a person had arthritis or a related condition.

Key Findings

  • For doctor-diagnosed arthritis, sensitivity was 72% (95% CI 65-79) and specificity was 72% (95% CI 64-81).
  • Agreement (reliability of self-reporting) between the telephone survey and written responses (at the examination) for doctor-diagnosed arthritis was high (kappa = 0.88).
  • Self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis was highly reliable, and moderately sensitive and specific among these senior center participants.

Abstracts, Publications, Presentations

Bombard JM, Powell KE, Martin LM, Helmick CG, Wilson WH. Validity and reliability of self-reported arthritis: Georgia Senior Centers, 2000–2001. Am J Prev Med 2005;28(3):251–258.

Principal Investigator

Jennifer B. Bombard, MSPH
Arthritis Foundation, Georgia Chapter
2970 Peachtree Rd., NW, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30305

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