Inferring health interview response bias from imperfect record checks

by Kent H. Marquis

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Results of incomplete criterion validity checks can be misinterpreted. The kind of design incompleteness potentially determines the sign of the response bias estimate. The amount of random error can determine the magnitude of the bias estimate. Published record check estimates of average response bias in reporting hospitalization episodes are used to illustrate the interpretation pitfalls. A common modification to an incomplete record check design is shown to have failed, in one case, to remove the effects of the design bias. Record check evidence for the proxy and memory decay response biases is reexamined. The reexamination suggests these biases may be small or nonexistent in survey reports of hospitalization.

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