Few studies have reported the accuracy of measures used to assess sun-protection practices.
Valid measures are critical to the internal validity and use of skin cancer control research.
We sought to validate self-reported covering-up practices of pool-goers.
A total of 162 lifeguards and 201 parent/child pairs from 16 pools in 4 metropolitan regions in the United States completed a survey and a 4-day sun-habits diary.
Observations of sun-protective behaviors were conducted on two occasions.
Agreement between observations and diaries ranged from slight to substantial, with most values in the fair to moderate range.
Highest agreement was observed for parent hat use (kappa = 0.58-0.70). There was no systematic pattern of over- or under-reporting among the 3 study groups.
Potential reactivity and a relatively affluent sample are limitations.
There was little over-reporting and no systematic bias, which increases confidence in reliance on verbal reports of these behaviors in surveys and intervention research.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Australian Sun and Health Research Laboratory, School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Road, Kelvin Grove, Queensland 4059, Australia. d.oriordan [at] qut.edu.au.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 May;60(5):739-44
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