Are self-reports of smoking rate biased? Evidence from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Robert Klesges, Margaret Debon, Joanne White Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study determined evidence for digit preference in self-reports of smoking in the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II). Subjects were 4275 adult smokers. Self-reports of smoking showed a marked degree of digit preference, with the vast majority of smokers reporting in multiples of 10 cigarettes per day. When number per day was compared to an objective measure of smoking exposure (carboxyhemoglobin; n = 2070) the distribution was found to be significantly assymetrical. Analysis of the distribution of COHb and various levels of number per day indicates that the differences in distribution are not due to variability in COHb. Heavier smokers, Caucasians, and those with less education were more likely to report a digit preference than lighter smokers, African-Americans, and those with more education. Results suggest that self-reports of number of cigarettes per day may be biased towards round numbers (particularly 20 cigarettes per day). Implications for assessment of smoking behavior are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1233
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume48
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

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Nutrition Surveys
Self Report
Smoking
Tobacco Products
Carboxyhemoglobin
Education
African Americans

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology

Cite this

Are self-reports of smoking rate biased? Evidence from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. / Klesges, Robert; Debon, Margaret; Ray, Joanne White.

In: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Vol. 48, No. 10, 01.01.1995, p. 1225-1233.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Klesges, Robert ; Debon, Margaret ; Ray, Joanne White. / Are self-reports of smoking rate biased? Evidence from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 1995 ; Vol. 48, No. 10. pp. 1225-1233.
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