Objectives: To study whether the methodological change from parent to index subject as questionnaire respondent affected the prevalence estimates and risk factor patterns for allergic diseases in a longitudinal study.
Study design and setting: A prospective study of asthma and allergic diseases among children was begun in 1996 within the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden Study. In 2002, about 3,342 (95% of invited) teenagers (13 to 14 years) completed the annual questionnaire. A random sample of 294 (84% of invited) parents also completed the same extended International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire. Skin prick tests were performed in 1996 and 2000.
Results: There were no significant differences in the prevalence of rhinitis, eczema, or related environmental factors between parental and self-reports, except for the question of having a dog at home. The absolute agreement was high, whereas the kappa values were fair or moderate. Kappa values of questions regarding parental smoking were 0.8-0.9. Allergic sensitization was the major risk factor for both rhinitis and eczema, and the odds ratios were similar regardless of who reported the condition.
Conclusion: The agreement between the parental and teenagers' reports was good, and the methodological change did not affect the study results.
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