Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



J Addict Behav Ther Rehabil. ; 3(1): 1000113–.


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The study examined consistency of reports concerning current and prior smoking behaviors. Data came from the 2002–2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, where the current smoking behaviors and smoking history were reported by self- and proxy-respondents on two occasions, one year apart. The ever-smoking status is reported consistently, overall: Kappa coefficient is 0.78 with the corresponding 95% confidence interval given by (0.77, 0.78). One specific type of inconsistency of prior reports was assessed for respondents who were identified as never smokers at the latter assessment and former or current smokers at the earlier assessment. Based on the survey logistic regression that controls for multiple respondent characteristics and survey administration method, the estimated prevalence of such inconsistent self-reports is 9.0%, and prevalence of inconsistent proxy-reports is 5.4%. In addition, prevalence of recanting, i.e., future reporting never smoking for respondents who previously claimed to be a former or a current smoker was assessed. The recanting was shown to be most prevalent with respect to proxy-reports and former smokers: overall prevalence of recanting was estimated to be in the range 13% – 19% for current smokers, and 27% – 46% for former smokers. Our findings indicate that while, unexpectedly, proxy-respondents are more likely to report the ever-smoking status consistently than do self-respondents, the proxies are also more likely to incorrectly report never smoking in the future for smokers especially regarding adolescents and young adults. Therefore, the observed higher level of consistency for proxy-respondents may be due to proxies’ incorrect knowledge which leads to consistent yet ambiguous responses.

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