Data on prior pesticide use collected from self- and proxy respondents

Epidemiology. 1993 Mar;4(2):157-64. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199303000-00012.


Proxy respondents have often been used in case-control studies of cancer and pesticides. To evaluate the effect of exposure misclassification, we compared data collected during 1981-1983 from participants interviewed for a case-control study of leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with data collected during 1990-1991 from proxy respondents for participants who died or became incompetent since the initial interview (328 self-proxy pairs). As questions increased in detail, agreement percentages decreased. Agreement percentages were highest for demographic and general farming information (averages = 88-90%) and lowest for specific pesticide use (averages = 68-74%). Generally, odds ratios calculated from proxy respondent data were less than those from self-respondent data; however, several exceptions occurred. The findings indicate that pesticide data provided by proxy respondents will not necessarily result in the same estimate of risk and/or lead to the same conclusions as data provided by self-respondents.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / chemically induced
  • Leukemia / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemically induced
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Population
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Disclosure


  • Pesticides