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

Mireille B. Toledano*, Anssi Auvinen, Giorgio Tettamanti, Yang Cao, Maria Feychting, Anders Ahlbom, Karin Fremling, Sirpa Heinävaara, Katja Kojo, Gemma Knowles, Rachel B. Smith, Joachim Schüz, Christoffer Johansen, Aslak Harbo Poulsen, Isabelle Deltour, Roel Vermeulen, Hans Kromhout, Paul Elliott, Lena Hillert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

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 ≥4 h/week) and low (≤6 calls/week or <30 min/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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HYGIENE AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Volume221
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Cellular phone
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Radiofrequency
  • Telecommunications
  • Validation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An international prospective cohort study of mobile phone users and health (COSMOS): Factors affecting validity of self-reported mobile phone use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this