Validity of Self-Reported Hypertension: Findings from the Thai Cohort Study Compared to Physician Telephone Interview

  •  Prasutr Thawornchaisit    
  •  Ferdinandus de Looze    
  •  Christopher Reid    
  •  Sam-ang Seubsman    
  •  Adrian Sleigh    
  •  The Thai Cohort Study Team    


Background: Surveys for chronic diseases, and large epidemiological studies of their determinants, often acquire data through self-report since it is feasible and efficient. We examined validity and associations of self-reported hypertension, as verified by physician telephone interview among participants in a large ongoing Thai Cohort Study (TCS).

Methods: The TCS investigates the health-risk transition among distance learning Open University students living all over Thailand. It began in 2005 and at 4-year follow-up, 60 569 self-reported having or not having doctor diagnosed hypertension. Two hundred and forty participants were randomly selected from each of the "hypertension" and "normotension" self-report groups. A Thai physician conducted a structured telephone interview with the sampled participants and classified them as having hypertension or normotension. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value (PPV and NPV) and overall accuracy of self-report were calculated.

Results: The sensitivity of self-reported hypertension was 82.4% and the specificity was 70.7%. As true prevalence was simulated to vary from 1% to 50% the overall accuracy of self-report varied little from 71% to 75%. High sensitivity and negative predictive value related to female gender, younger age (?40 years), higher education attainment and not visiting a physician in the last 12 months. High specificity and positive predictive value related to female gender, older age, higher education attainment and visiting a doctor in the previous year.

Conclusion: Self-report of hypertension had high sensitivity and good overall accuracy. This is acceptable for use in large studies of hypertension, and for estimating its population prevalence to help formulate health policy in Thailand.

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