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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 Jan;221(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.09.008. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

An international prospective cohort study of mobile phone users and health (COSMOS): Factors affecting validity of self-reported mobile phone use.

Author information

1
MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK; National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Health Impact of Environmental Hazards, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK. Electronic address: m.toledano@imperial.ac.uk.
2
School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, FI-33014, Tampere, Finland; Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), 00811 Helsinki, Finland.
3
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, SE-701 82 Örebro, Sweden.
5
Finnish Cancer Registry, Mass Screening Registry, Unioninkatu 22, FI-00130 Helsinki, Finland.
6
Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), 00811 Helsinki, Finland.
7
MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK; National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Health Impact of Environmental Hazards, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK.
8
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Section of Environment and Radiation, 69372 Lyon, France.
9
Oncology clinic, Finsen Center, Copenhagen, Denmark; The Danish Cancer Society Research Center, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
10
The Danish Cancer Society Research Center, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
11
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.
12
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Stockholm County Council, 104 22 Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

This study investigates validity of self-reported mobile phone use in a subset of 75 993 adults from the COSMOS cohort study. Agreement between self-reported and operator-derived mobile call frequency and duration for a 3-month period was assessed using Cohen's weighted Kappa (κ). Sensitivity and specificity of both self-reported high (≥10 calls/day or ≥4h/week) and low (≤6 calls/week or <30min/week) mobile phone use were calculated, as compared to operator data. For users of one mobile phone, agreement was fair for call frequency (κ=0.35, 95% CI: 0.35, 0.36) and moderate for call duration (κ=0.50, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.50). Self-reported low call frequency and duration demonstrated high sensitivity (87% and 76% respectively), but for high call frequency and duration sensitivity was lower (38% and 56% respectively), reflecting a tendency for greater underestimation than overestimation. Validity of self-reported mobile phone use was lower in women, younger age groups and those reporting symptoms during/shortly after using a mobile phone. This study highlights the ongoing value of using self-report data to measure mobile phone use. Furthermore, compared to continuous scale estimates used by previous studies, categorical response options used in COSMOS appear to improve validity considerably, most likely by preventing unrealistically high estimates from being reported.

KEYWORDS:

Cellular phone; Electromagnetic fields; Radiofrequency; Telecommunications; Validation

PMID:
29056311
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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