Reliability of reported occupational history information for US coal miners, 1969-1977.
Am J Epidemiol 1998 Nov; 148(9):920-926
For estimating reliable exposure-response relations it is necessary that random variation in both the response and the exposure variables be sufficiently small. Variability in cumulative exposures can arise from uncertainties in self-reported work histories from interviews. In most Epidemiologic surveys, the information gathered from questionnaires is used without knowing the validity or reproducibility of these data. This paper investigates the reliability of occupational histories reported by the same individuals on two occasions separated by 9 years in the US National Study of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis and its implications on the exposure-response relation for simple coal workers' pneumoconiosis. For 480 coal miners, from whom occupational histories were obtained twice (in 1969-1971 and 1977-1981), the reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient) of the cumulative exposures generated from each work history was 87%. Logistic model fitting of simple coal workers' pneumoconiosis prevalence to the cumulative coal dust exposure produced almost identical results. After accounting for intersurvey variability in the occupational histories, the authors found that the exposure-response coefficients estimated from information reported at the surveys were attenuated by 12%. In epidemiologic studies, knowledge of the reproducibility of self- reported occupational history information is important to ascertain whether the true exposure effect is underestimated.
Statistical-analysis; Dose-response; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Coal-mining; Mine-workers; Coal-workers; Coal-miners; Occupational-health; Occupational-exposure; Epidemiology; Miners; Mining-industry; Questionnaires; Pneumoconiosis; Coal-dust; Dusts; Dust-exposure; Models;
Author Keywords: occupational exposure; questionnaires; reliability
Patricia S. Brower, Epidemiological Investigations Branch, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, MS-234, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888
American Journal of Epidemiology