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Smoking status by proxy and self report: rate of agreement in different ethnic groups
  1. Ana M Navarro
  1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0622, USA;anavarro{at}


    OBJECTIVE To examine the rate of agreement between proxy and self report of smoking status in Hispanics compared with other ethnic groups.

    DESIGN Data source is the 1990 California Tobacco Survey (CTS) which includes proxy and self reported smoking status. The CTS is a random digit dialled survey conducted in 57 244 households. A sample of 10 011 adults was included in the analyses.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE Percentages of agreement and disagreement between self report and report by other member of the household on smoking status.

    RESULTS Cohen’s κ coefficients of agreement on smoking status between self report and proxy report was highest in non-Hispanic whites and African Americans (κ = 0.91), followed by Asian Americans (κ = 0.82 ) and Hispanics (κ = 0.76). Among adults identified as current smokers by proxy, a lower percentage of Hispanics compared with non-Hispanics indicated that they were current smokers (odds ratio (OR) = 3.74, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 3.28 to 4.20). Furthermore, agreement between proxy and self report was also lower in Hispanics of low acculturation compared with Hispanics with a high level of acculturation (OR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0 to 0.94).

    CONCLUSIONS The agreement between self reported and proxy reported smoking status is higher among non-Hispanics compared with Hispanics. Smoking rates in different ethnic groups that are estimated by telephone surveys including proxy and self report might not be comparable.

    • smoking status
    • Hispanics
    • self reporting

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