Reliability and validity of interview data on chronic diseases. The Mini-Finland Health Survey

J Clin Epidemiol. 1993 Feb;46(2):181-91. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(93)90056-7.


The Mini-Finland Health Survey was designed to obtain a comprehensive picture of health and of the need for care in Finnish adults, and to develop methods for monitoring health in the population as a whole. Out of a nationally representative sample of 8000 people aged 30 or over, 7217 (90%) were both interviewed at home by local public health nurses using simple open-ended questions and, independently of this interview, subsequently examined in a two-phase health examination. The estimate of chronic morbidity based on the health interview (56%) was close to the prevalence of definite somatic diseases diagnosed in the health examination (54%), and the agreement between the two methods was moderate (kappa = 0.53). The estimated prevalence of cardiovascular diseases was the same (23%) in the health interview and in the health examination; the agreement was substantial (kappa = 0.74). The prevalence of respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases and mental disorders was underestimated in the interview by 52, 25 and 78%, respectively; the agreement between results of the two methods was relatively low (kappa = 0.43, 0.38 and 0.30, respectively). These results suggest that both the health examination and the health interview methods, as used in this survey, have useful applications in monitoring the population's health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results