Objective: This study sought to determine the accuracy of self-report of mammography experience among 392 ethnically diverse women aged 50 to 74.
Methods: Subjects were randomized to the telephone or mail condition and surveyed.
Results: Thirty-one percent of women reported accurately the exact month and year of their most recent mammogram; 54% reported accurately within +/- 3 months, and 83% reported accurately within the year. Greater accuracy was associated with exam recency, White race, and non-Hispanic ethnicity, but not with age, education, or income. Most women could correctly report the reason for, the findings of, and the payor of their mammograms but knew little about how much they or their insurance paid.
Conclusions: For population surveillance of mammography in the past year, self-report data are generally valid. However, clinical studies requiring more precise dates must use such data with caution. The telephone method, as compared with mail, appears to be a better option for some variables.