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Recall bias in injury studies of young people with intellectual disability

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Background. In the general population, parent report of injury in children is subject to recall bias that can substantially underestimate injury rates derived from medical record data. This study aimed to assess whether or not carer recall of injury in young people with intellectual disability is also subject to similar recall bias and consequent underestimation of injury incidence rates. Methods . In 1996, the Australian Child and Adolescent Development program collected carer reports of injury during the previous year on 465 subjects with intellectual disability, aged 5–29 years. Medical record injury data for hospital admissions, emergency department presentations, and general practitioner visits were collected for 185 of the parent injury recall records. Results. The sensitivity and specificity of parent recall of injury for all levels of medical care combined were 57.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 44.1–69.9) and 99.2 (95% CI 95.6–99.9) respectively. The sensitivities and specificities of parent recall for injury presentation to general practice, emergency departments, and for hospital admissions were 43.3 (95% CI 25.5–62.6) and 99.4 (95% CI 96.5–99.9); 51.9 (95% CI 32.0, 71.3) and 96.8 (95% CI 92.8–99.0); and 75.0 (95% CI 19.4–99.4) and 99.9 (95% CI 97.9–99.9) respectively. Conclusions. When adjusted for recall bias, the carer-reported injury incidence for young people with intellectual disability is approximately double that of the general population and indicates an urgent need for the development, implementation, and evaluation of injury prevention programs for this population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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