Agreement in reporting of asthma by parents or offspring - the RHINESSA generation study

Ingrid N. Kuiper*, Cecilie Svanes, Bryndis Benediktsdottir, Randi J. Bertelsen, Lennart Bråbäck, Shyamali C. Dharmage, Mathias Holm, Christer Janson, Rain Jögi, Andrei Malinovschi, Melanie Matheson, Jesús Martínez Moratalla, Francisco Gómez Real, José Luis Sánchez-Ramos, Vivi Schlünssen, Signe Timm, Ane Johannessen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Self-report questionnaires are commonly used in epidemiology, but may be susceptible to misclassification, especially if answers are given on behalf of others, e.g. children or parents. The aim was to determine agreement and analyse predictors of disagreement in parents' reports of offspring asthma, and in offspring reports of parents' asthma. Methods: In the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe, Spain and Australia (RHINESSA) generation study, 6752 offspring (age range 18-51years) and their parents (age range 39-66years) reported their own and each other's asthma status. Agreement between asthma reports from offspring and parents was determined by calculating sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value and Cohen's kappa. The participants' own answers regarding themselves were defined as the gold standard. To investigate predictors for disagreement logistic regression analyses were performed to obtain odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for sex, smoking status, education, comorbidity and severity of asthma. Results: Agreement was good for parental report of offspring early onset asthma (<10years, Cohen's kappa 0.72) and moderate for offspring later onset asthma (Cohen's kappa 0.46). Specificity was 0.99 for both, and sensitivity was 0.68 and 0.36, respectively. For offspring report of maternal and paternal asthma the agreement was good (Cohen's kappa 0.69 and 0.68), specificity was 0.96 and 0.97, and sensitivity was 0.72 and 0.68, respectively. The positive predictive value (PPV) was lowest for offspring report of maternal asthma (0.75), and highest for parents' report of early onset asthma in the offspring (0.83). The negative predictive value (NPV) was high for all four groups (0.94-0.97). In multivariate analyses current smokers (OR=1.46 [95% CI 1.05, 2.02]) and fathers (OR=1.31 [95% CI 1.08, 1.59]) were more likely to report offspring asthma incorrectly. Offspring wheeze was associated with reporting parental asthma incorrectly (OR=1.60 [95% CI 1.21, 2.11]), both under- and over reporting. Conclusions: Asthma reports across generations show moderate to good agreement, making information from other generations a useful tool in the absence of direct reports.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27. Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Agreement
  • Asthma
  • Questionnaire
  • Self-report
  • Transgenerational
  • Validation
  • Self Report/standards
  • Adult Children
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Intergenerational Relations
  • Young Adult
  • Internationality
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Asthma/epidemiology


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