Reliability of proxy reports of parental smoking by elementary schoolchildren

Ann Epidemiol. 1997 Aug;7(6):396-9. doi: 10.1016/s1047-2797(97)00045-8.


Purpose: To investigate the reliability of reports of parental smoking by elementary schoolchildren aged 9-13 years, and to identify the correlates of disagreement between student proxy and parent self-reports.

Methods: As part of the evaluation of a school-based heart health promotion program, data on parental smoking status were collected from 1240 student-mother pairs and 898 student-father pairs.

Results: Agreement for parental smoking status was 93.1% among student-mother pairs and 86.4% among student-father pairs. Among student-mother pairs, reports by students aged 9 years were more likely to disagree with mothers' self-reports than those of older children (odds ratio (OR) = 3.1). Among student-father pairs, the only significant correlate of disagreement was living in a single-parent family headed by the mother (OR = 2.6).

Conclusions: Children 10-years or older can provide reliable reports of the smoking status of cohabiting parents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Prevalence
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smoking / epidemiology*