Journal Article

Predictors of Self-reported Confidence Ratings for Adult Recall of Early Life Sun Exposure

Anne-Sharon Relova, Loraine D. Marrett, Neil Klar, John R. McLaughlin, Fredrick D. Ashbury, Diane Nishri and Beth Theis

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 162, issue 2, pages 183-192
Published in print July 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online July 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Predictors of Self-reported Confidence Ratings for Adult Recall of Early Life Sun Exposure

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Use of self-reported confidence ratings may be an efficient method for assessing recall bias. In this exploratory application of the method, the authors examined the relation between case-control status and self-reported confidence ratings. In 2002 and 2003, melanoma cases (n = 141) and controls (n = 143) aged 20–44 years residing in Ontario, Canada, estimated the amounts of time they had spent outdoors in summer activities when they were 6–18 years of age and indicated their confidence in the accuracy of each estimate. The generalized estimating equations extension of logistic regression was used to examine dichotomized confidence ratings (more confident vs. less confident) for activities reported for ages 6–11 years and 12–18 years. Types of activity were associated with more confident reporting for both age strata; as the number of stable outdoor activity periods (total number of similar outdoor periods within each activity) reported by respondents increased, confidence decreased. Cumulative time spent outdoors was also associated with more confidence but reached statistical significance only for the age stratum 12–18 years. There was no statistically significant association between case-control status and self-reported confidence for either age stratum (6–11 years: odds ratio = 0.91; 12–18 years: odds ratio = 1.32), which suggests an absence of recall bias for reported time spent outdoors.

Keywords: bias (epidemiology); case-control studies; melanoma; mental recall; questionnaires; research design; CI, confidence interval; OR, odds ratio; RESE, Recall of Early-life Sun Exposure

Journal Article.  5691 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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