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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep 1;84(1):40-7. Epub 2005 Dec 28.

Correspondence between proxy and self-reports on smoking in a full family study.

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Institute of Family and Child Care Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



The present study investigated the reliability of proxy reports obtained from family members with self-reports on adolescent and parental lifetime and current smoking status.


Data were assessed from 416 families, consisting of both biological parents and two adolescent siblings aged 13-17 years. These families were assessed at baseline and 1 year later. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were calculated to test whether proxy reports corresponded with self-reports.


Mothers scored higher than fathers on most measures on lifetime and current smoking status of both children. The sensitivity was low for parental reports, but moderate to high for children's reports. Specificity and positive predictive value were high in all proxy reports. The negative predictive value was moderate (parents as proxy reporters) to low (children as proxy reporters) on lifetime smoking, but high on current smoking.


Adolescents, aged 13-17 years, can be used as a reliable source to assess the smoking status of their mothers and fathers. Parents, however, appeared to accurately identify the smoking status of their adolescent children less reliably.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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