Subgroup-specific effects of questionnaire wording on population-based estimates of mammography prevalence

Am J Public Health. 2001 May;91(5):817-20. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.5.817.


Objectives: This study investigated whether an apparent downturn in prevalence rates of mammography use reported in the 1992 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) questionnaire resulted from a change in questionnaire wording.

Methods: In a pretest-posttest design (1990-1991 vs 1992), piecewise linear regression analyses were based on monthly prevalence estimates of mammography use among female BRFSS respondents 40 years or older.

Results: Self-reported mammography use was lower by 3.5 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5, 5.5) overall--and lower by 13.6 percentage points (95% CI = 2.6, 24.6) among Black women with less than a high school education--when predicted from 1992 data than when predicted from 1990-1991 data.

Conclusions: A change in questionnaire wording in the BRFSS caused demographic-specific effects in population-based estimates of mammography use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States