Objective:: The purpose of this study is to examine the validity of, and factors associated with, the accuracy of self-report (participant-report and proxy-report) for fractures.
Design:: Study participants were from the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial and Observational Study cohorts. All women were postmenopausal; populations included American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white. The average length of follow-up was 4.3 years. Self-reported fractures were adjudicated by reviewing medical records. The first adjudicated self-report of fractures for each participant was included in the analysis (n = 6,652).
Results:: We found substantial variations in validity of self-report by the fracture site. Agreements between self-reports for single-site fractures and medical records were high for hip (78%) and forearm/wrist (81%) but relatively lower for clinical spine fractures (51%). The average confirmation rate for all single-site fractures was 71%. Misidentification of fracture sites by participants or proxy-reporters seemed to be a cause of unconfirmed self-reports. Higher confirmation rates were observed in participant-reports than in proxy-reports. Results of the multivariate analysis indicated that multiple factors, such as ethnicity, a history of osteoporosis or fractures, body mass index, years since menopause, smoking status, and number of falls in the past year were significantly (P < 0.05) related to the validity of self-report.
Conclusion:: The validity of self-reports for fracture varies by fracture sites and many other factors. The assessed validity in this study is likely conservative because some of the unconfirmed self-reports may be due to poor medical record systems. The validity of self-reports for hip and forearm/wrist fractures is high in this study, supporting their use in epidemiological studies among postmenopausal women.