The validity of questionnaire-reported work history in live respondents

J Occup Med. 1987 Oct;29(10):795-800.


The ability of subjects to recall their year of hire, year of termination, and job title was studied by comparing reported information to that recorded in personnel records. Former shipyard workers were interviewed in 1982. A majority was first employed in one of two shipyards during the early 1940s and 1950s. kappa statistics and crude and adjusted measures of percent agreement were derived to determine whether reported work history agreed with what was recorded in the subjects' personnel record and to determine whether recall was associated with race, age of the respondent at the time of interview, years since leaving the yard, length of employment, and year of hire. After adjusting for other covariates, only the number of years since leaving the yard was associated with recall of year of hire and termination, but not job title. In addition, however, there were several other noteworthy findings. Individuals who were 65-69 years of age at the time of interview had the poorest recall. Recall of both the year of hire and the job title appears to improve with increasing length of employment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Employment*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires