Health-related lost productive time (LPT): recall interval and bias in LPT estimates

J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Jun;46(6 Suppl):S12-22. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000126685.59954.55.


We examined the effect of interview characteristics (ie, recall interval, interview version) on estimates of health-related lost productive work time (LPT). Three versions of a telephone interview were administered using 7-day and 4-week recall periods. In a population-based survey, 7674 workers randomly were assigned to one of six interviews at contact; 615 participants received a follow-up interview. We found strong evidence of under-reporting using a 4-week recall period and a not significant trend in over-reporting LPT using a 7-day recall period. Of the three interviews, version 3 could be administered most quickly, on average, and yielded the most discriminating estimates of LPT by health condition (ie, headache, allergic rhinitis, and cold/flu). Our data suggest that variation in relatively short recall periods influences estimates of health-related LPT. A 2-week recall period may be optimal for minimizing overall reporting error but requires additional research to verify.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Efficiency*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*