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Validation of mobile phone use recall in the multinational MOBI‐kids study

Abstract

Potential differential and non-differential recall error in mobile phone use (MPU) in the multinational MOBI-Kids case–control study were evaluated. We compared self-reported MPU with network operator billing record data up to 3 months, 1 year, and 2 years before the interview date from 702 subjects aged between 10 and 24 years in eight countries. Spearman rank correlations, Kappa coefficients and geometric mean ratios (GMRs) were used. No material differences in MPU recall estimates between cases and controls were observed. The Spearman rank correlation coefficients between self-reported and recorded MPU in the most recent 3 months were 0.57 and 0.59 for call number and for call duration, respectively. The number of calls was on average underestimated by the participants (GMR = 0.69), while the duration of calls was overestimated (GMR = 1.59). Country, years since start of using a mobile phone, age at time of interview, and sex did not appear to influence recall accuracy for either call number or call duration. A trend in recall error was seen with level of self-reported MPU, with underestimation of use at lower levels and overestimation of use at higher levels for both number and duration of calls. Although both systematic and random errors in self-reported MPU among participants were observed, there was no evidence of differential recall error between cases and controls. Nonetheless, these sources of exposure measurement error warrant consideration in interpretation of the MOBI-Kids case–control study results on the association between children’s use of mobile phones and potential brain cancer risk.

Bioelectromagnetics, EarlyView.  

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Abstract

Potential differential and non-differential recall error in mobile phone use (MPU) in the multinational MOBI-Kids case–control study were evaluated. We compared self-reported MPU with network operator billing record data up to 3 months, 1 year, and 2 years before the interview date from 702 subjects aged between 10 and 24 years in eight countries. Spearman rank correlations, Kappa coefficients and geometric mean ratios (GMRs) were used. No material differences in MPU recall estimates between cases and controls were observed. The Spearman rank correlation coefficients between self-reported and recorded MPU in the most recent 3 months were 0.57 and 0.59 for call number and for call duration, respectively. The number of calls was on average underestimated by the participants (GMR = 0.69), while the duration of calls was overestimated (GMR = 1.59). Country, years since start of using a mobile phone, age at time of interview, and sex did not appear to influence recall accuracy for either call number or call duration. A trend in recall error was seen with level of self-reported MPU, with underestimation of use at lower levels and overestimation of use at higher levels for both number and duration of calls. Although both systematic and random errors in self-reported MPU among participants were observed, there was no evidence of differential recall error between cases and controls. Nonetheless, these sources of exposure measurement error warrant consideration in interpretation of the MOBI-Kids case–control study results on the association between children’s use of mobile phones and potential brain cancer risk.

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Validation of mobile phone use recall in the multinational MOBI‐kids study

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