Accuracy of work history obtained from a spouse

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1987 Feb;13(1):67-9. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.2079.


In an evaluation of the usefulness of collecting work exposure information from wives of workers, 26 husband-wife pairs were interviewed separately about exposure of the husband to organic solvents. There was 58% concordance between the husbands and wives for answers to a simple question regarding solvent exposure. Amplification of these answers through the use of a computerized occupation-exposure linkage system yielded 81% concordance. When the analysis was restricted to those reporting exposure to solvents for more than five years, an 88% concordance was achieved with the linkage system. It was concluded that wives can accurately recall their husbands' work histories with respect to jobs having solvent exposure. The exposure specificity of such histories is significantly enhanced by the use of an occupation-exposure linkage system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Solvents
  • Time Factors
  • Women*


  • Solvents