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Review on the validity of self-report to assess work-related diseases.

Lenderink AF, Zoer I, van der Molen HF, Spreeuwers D, Frings-Dresen MH, van Dijk FJ - Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2011)

Bottom Line: In 32 studies, workers' self-reports of health conditions were compared with the "reference standard" of expert opinion.We found that agreement was mainly low to moderate.The health condition, type of questionnaire, and the case definitions for both self-report and reference standards influence the results of validation studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases/Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. a.f.lenderink@amc.uva.nl

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Self-report is an efficient and accepted means of assessing population characteristics, risk factors, and diseases. Little is known on the validity of self-reported work-related illness as an indicator of the presence of a work-related disease. This study reviews the evidence on (1) the validity of workers' self-reported illness and (2) on the validity of workers' self-assessed work relatedness of an illness.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in four databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and OSH-Update). Two reviewers independently performed the article selection and data extraction. The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated, levels of agreement and predictive values were rated against predefined criteria, and sources of heterogeneity were explored.

Results: In 32 studies, workers' self-reports of health conditions were compared with the "reference standard" of expert opinion. We found that agreement was mainly low to moderate. Self-assessed work relatedness of a health condition was examined in only four studies, showing low-to-moderate agreement with expert assessment. The health condition, type of questionnaire, and the case definitions for both self-report and reference standards influence the results of validation studies.

Conclusions: Workers' self-reported illness may provide valuable information on the presence of disease, although the generalizability of the findings is limited primarily to musculoskeletal and skin disorders. For case finding in a population at risk, e.g., an active workers' health surveillance program, a sensitive symptom questionnaire with a follow-up by a medical examination may be the best choice. Evidence on the validity of self-assessed work relatedness of a health condition is scarce. Adding well-developed questions to a specific medical diagnosis exploring the relationship between symptoms and work may be a good strategy.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Search results as the number of scientific articles retrieved in the different stages of the search and selection procedure
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Fig1: Search results as the number of scientific articles retrieved in the different stages of the search and selection procedure

Mentions: The electronic search identified 889 unique titles and abstracts, which were then screened by AL and IZ. The result was the retrieval of 50 potentially relevant articles. After assessment of the full text articles, 23 articles were included and 27 were discarded by consensus. The main reasons for exclusion being that they (1) did not address the research topic (i.e., the validity of self-reported illness among working adults), (2) did not compare self-report with expert assessment based on clinical examinations or tests, and (3) did not include an estimate of agreement between self-report and expert assessment or an estimate of the predictive value of self-report. Some articles were excluded for a combination of these reasons. (A list of excluded articles, with reasons for exclusion, is available on request.) Eight new articles were obtained by reference checking, so 31 articles in total were included in this review (Fig. 1). In the 31 articles, 32 studies were described since one article (Descatha et al. 2007) described two separate studies with different characteristics (the “Repetitive Task Survey” and the “Pays de Loire Survey”).Fig. 1


Review on the validity of self-report to assess work-related diseases.

Lenderink AF, Zoer I, van der Molen HF, Spreeuwers D, Frings-Dresen MH, van Dijk FJ - Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2011)

Search results as the number of scientific articles retrieved in the different stages of the search and selection procedure
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3299958&req=5

Fig1: Search results as the number of scientific articles retrieved in the different stages of the search and selection procedure
Mentions: The electronic search identified 889 unique titles and abstracts, which were then screened by AL and IZ. The result was the retrieval of 50 potentially relevant articles. After assessment of the full text articles, 23 articles were included and 27 were discarded by consensus. The main reasons for exclusion being that they (1) did not address the research topic (i.e., the validity of self-reported illness among working adults), (2) did not compare self-report with expert assessment based on clinical examinations or tests, and (3) did not include an estimate of agreement between self-report and expert assessment or an estimate of the predictive value of self-report. Some articles were excluded for a combination of these reasons. (A list of excluded articles, with reasons for exclusion, is available on request.) Eight new articles were obtained by reference checking, so 31 articles in total were included in this review (Fig. 1). In the 31 articles, 32 studies were described since one article (Descatha et al. 2007) described two separate studies with different characteristics (the “Repetitive Task Survey” and the “Pays de Loire Survey”).Fig. 1

Bottom Line: In 32 studies, workers' self-reports of health conditions were compared with the "reference standard" of expert opinion.We found that agreement was mainly low to moderate.The health condition, type of questionnaire, and the case definitions for both self-report and reference standards influence the results of validation studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases/Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. a.f.lenderink@amc.uva.nl

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Self-report is an efficient and accepted means of assessing population characteristics, risk factors, and diseases. Little is known on the validity of self-reported work-related illness as an indicator of the presence of a work-related disease. This study reviews the evidence on (1) the validity of workers' self-reported illness and (2) on the validity of workers' self-assessed work relatedness of an illness.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in four databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and OSH-Update). Two reviewers independently performed the article selection and data extraction. The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated, levels of agreement and predictive values were rated against predefined criteria, and sources of heterogeneity were explored.

Results: In 32 studies, workers' self-reports of health conditions were compared with the "reference standard" of expert opinion. We found that agreement was mainly low to moderate. Self-assessed work relatedness of a health condition was examined in only four studies, showing low-to-moderate agreement with expert assessment. The health condition, type of questionnaire, and the case definitions for both self-report and reference standards influence the results of validation studies.

Conclusions: Workers' self-reported illness may provide valuable information on the presence of disease, although the generalizability of the findings is limited primarily to musculoskeletal and skin disorders. For case finding in a population at risk, e.g., an active workers' health surveillance program, a sensitive symptom questionnaire with a follow-up by a medical examination may be the best choice. Evidence on the validity of self-assessed work relatedness of a health condition is scarce. Adding well-developed questions to a specific medical diagnosis exploring the relationship between symptoms and work may be a good strategy.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus