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Accuracy of adults’ recall of childhood social class: findings from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study

Background: Although adult reported childhood socioeconomic position has been related to health outcomes in many studies, little is known about the validity of such distantly recalled information. This study evaluated the validity of adults’ reports of childhood paternal social class. Methods: Data... Full description

Journal Title: Journal of epidemiology and community health (1979) 2005-10, Vol.59 (10), p.898-903
Main Author: Batty, G David
Other Authors: Lawlor, Debbie A , Macintyre, Sally , Clark, Heather , Leon, David A
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Quelle: Alma/SFX Local Collection
Publisher: London: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
ID: ISSN: 0143-005X
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recordid: cdi_pubmedcentral_primary_oai_pubmedcentral_nih_gov_1732932
title: Accuracy of adults’ recall of childhood social class: findings from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study
format: Article
creator:
  • Batty, G David
  • Lawlor, Debbie A
  • Macintyre, Sally
  • Clark, Heather
  • Leon, David A
subjects:
  • Accuracy
  • Adulthood
  • Adults
  • Agreements
  • Biological and medical sciences
  • Birth certificates
  • Birth Weight
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Child
  • Childhood
  • Children & youth
  • Fathers
  • General aspects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence
  • life course
  • Medical sciences
  • Memory in old age
  • Mental Recall
  • Methods
  • Middle age
  • Middle Aged
  • Miscellaneous
  • Proletariat
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public health. Hygiene
  • Public health. Hygiene-occupational medicine
  • Quantitative psychology
  • Questionnaires
  • Recollection (Psychology)
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • School surveys
  • Scotland
  • Social Class
  • Social classes
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • socioeconomic position
  • Socioeconomics
  • Studies
  • Theory
  • Theory and Methods
  • validity
  • Working class
  • Working class in television
ispartof: Journal of epidemiology and community health (1979), 2005-10, Vol.59 (10), p.898-903
description: Background: Although adult reported childhood socioeconomic position has been related to health outcomes in many studies, little is known about the validity of such distantly recalled information. This study evaluated the validity of adults’ reports of childhood paternal social class. Methods: Data are drawn from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study, a cohort of 12 150 people born in Aberdeen (Scotland) who took part in a school based survey in 1962. In this survey, two indices of early life socioeconomic position were collected: occupational social class at birth (abstracted from maternity records) and occupational social class in childhood (reported during the 1962 survey by the study participants). Between 2000 and 2003, a questionnaire was mailed to traced middle aged cohort members in which inquiries were made about their fathers’ occupation when they were aged 12 years. The level of agreement between these reports and prospectively collected data on occupational social class was assessed. Results: In total, 7183 (63.7%) persons responded to the mid-life questionnaire. Agreement was moderate between social class of father recalled in adulthood and that measured in early life (κ statistics were 0.47 for social class measured at birth, and 0.56 for social class reported by the child). The relation of occupational social class to birth weight and childhood intelligence was in the expected directions, although weaker for adults’ reports in comparison with prospectively gathered data. Conclusions: In studies of adult disease aetiology, associations between childhood social class based on adult recall of parental occupation and health outcomes are likely to underestimate real effects.
language: eng
source: Alma/SFX Local Collection
identifier: ISSN: 0143-005X
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0143-005X
  • 1470-2738
url: Link


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creatorcontribBatty, G David ; Lawlor, Debbie A ; Macintyre, Sally ; Clark, Heather ; Leon, David A
descriptionBackground: Although adult reported childhood socioeconomic position has been related to health outcomes in many studies, little is known about the validity of such distantly recalled information. This study evaluated the validity of adults’ reports of childhood paternal social class. Methods: Data are drawn from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study, a cohort of 12 150 people born in Aberdeen (Scotland) who took part in a school based survey in 1962. In this survey, two indices of early life socioeconomic position were collected: occupational social class at birth (abstracted from maternity records) and occupational social class in childhood (reported during the 1962 survey by the study participants). Between 2000 and 2003, a questionnaire was mailed to traced middle aged cohort members in which inquiries were made about their fathers’ occupation when they were aged 12 years. The level of agreement between these reports and prospectively collected data on occupational social class was assessed. Results: In total, 7183 (63.7%) persons responded to the mid-life questionnaire. Agreement was moderate between social class of father recalled in adulthood and that measured in early life (κ statistics were 0.47 for social class measured at birth, and 0.56 for social class reported by the child). The relation of occupational social class to birth weight and childhood intelligence was in the expected directions, although weaker for adults’ reports in comparison with prospectively gathered data. Conclusions: In studies of adult disease aetiology, associations between childhood social class based on adult recall of parental occupation and health outcomes are likely to underestimate real effects.
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subjectAccuracy ; Adulthood ; Adults ; Agreements ; Biological and medical sciences ; Birth certificates ; Birth Weight ; Cardiovascular disease ; Child ; Childhood ; Children & youth ; Fathers ; General aspects ; Humans ; Infant, Newborn ; Intelligence ; life course ; Medical sciences ; Memory in old age ; Mental Recall ; Methods ; Middle age ; Middle Aged ; Miscellaneous ; Proletariat ; Prospective Studies ; Public health. Hygiene ; Public health. Hygiene-occupational medicine ; Quantitative psychology ; Questionnaires ; Recollection (Psychology) ; Reproducibility of Results ; Research ; Retrospective Studies ; School surveys ; Scotland ; Social Class ; Social classes ; Socioeconomic factors ; socioeconomic position ; Socioeconomics ; Studies ; Theory ; Theory and Methods ; validity ; Working class ; Working class in television
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descriptionBackground: Although adult reported childhood socioeconomic position has been related to health outcomes in many studies, little is known about the validity of such distantly recalled information. This study evaluated the validity of adults’ reports of childhood paternal social class. Methods: Data are drawn from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study, a cohort of 12 150 people born in Aberdeen (Scotland) who took part in a school based survey in 1962. In this survey, two indices of early life socioeconomic position were collected: occupational social class at birth (abstracted from maternity records) and occupational social class in childhood (reported during the 1962 survey by the study participants). Between 2000 and 2003, a questionnaire was mailed to traced middle aged cohort members in which inquiries were made about their fathers’ occupation when they were aged 12 years. The level of agreement between these reports and prospectively collected data on occupational social class was assessed. Results: In total, 7183 (63.7%) persons responded to the mid-life questionnaire. Agreement was moderate between social class of father recalled in adulthood and that measured in early life (κ statistics were 0.47 for social class measured at birth, and 0.56 for social class reported by the child). The relation of occupational social class to birth weight and childhood intelligence was in the expected directions, although weaker for adults’ reports in comparison with prospectively gathered data. Conclusions: In studies of adult disease aetiology, associations between childhood social class based on adult recall of parental occupation and health outcomes are likely to underestimate real effects.
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0Batty, G David
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2Macintyre, Sally
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atitleAccuracy of adults’ recall of childhood social class: findings from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study
jtitleJournal of epidemiology and community health (1979)
addtitleJ Epidemiol Community Health
date2005-10
risdate2005
volume59
issue10
spage898
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pages898-903
issn0143-005X
eissn1470-2738
codenJECHDR
notesCorrespondence to:
 Dr G D Batty
 MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK; david-b@msoc.mrc.gla.ac.uk
abstractBackground: Although adult reported childhood socioeconomic position has been related to health outcomes in many studies, little is known about the validity of such distantly recalled information. This study evaluated the validity of adults’ reports of childhood paternal social class. Methods: Data are drawn from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study, a cohort of 12 150 people born in Aberdeen (Scotland) who took part in a school based survey in 1962. In this survey, two indices of early life socioeconomic position were collected: occupational social class at birth (abstracted from maternity records) and occupational social class in childhood (reported during the 1962 survey by the study participants). Between 2000 and 2003, a questionnaire was mailed to traced middle aged cohort members in which inquiries were made about their fathers’ occupation when they were aged 12 years. The level of agreement between these reports and prospectively collected data on occupational social class was assessed. Results: In total, 7183 (63.7%) persons responded to the mid-life questionnaire. Agreement was moderate between social class of father recalled in adulthood and that measured in early life (κ statistics were 0.47 for social class measured at birth, and 0.56 for social class reported by the child). The relation of occupational social class to birth weight and childhood intelligence was in the expected directions, although weaker for adults’ reports in comparison with prospectively gathered data. Conclusions: In studies of adult disease aetiology, associations between childhood social class based on adult recall of parental occupation and health outcomes are likely to underestimate real effects.
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