Pulse lineResearch With Heart Logo

Occupation recorded on certificates of death compared with self-report: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

TitleOccupation recorded on certificates of death compared with self-report: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBidulescu A, Rose KM, Wolf SH, Rosamond WD
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume7
Pagination229
Date Published2007 Aug 31
ISSN1471-2458
KeywordsAfrican Americans, Atherosclerosis, Confidence Intervals, Death Certificates, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, North Carolina, Occupations, Residence Characteristics, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Self Disclosure, Surveys and Questionnaires
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Death certificates are a potential source of sociodemographic data for decedents in epidemiologic research. However, because this information is provided by the next-of-kin or other proxies, there are concerns about validity. Our objective was to assess the agreement of job titles and occupational categories derived from death certificates with that self-reported in mid and later life.

METHODS: Occupation was abstracted from 431 death certificates from North Carolina Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study participants who died between 1987 and 2001. Occupations were coded according to 1980 Bureau of Census job titles and then grouped into six 1980 census occupational categories. This information was compared with the self-reported occupation at midlife as reported at the baseline examination (1987-89). We calculated percent agreement using standard methods. Chance-adjusted agreement was assessed by kappa coefficients, with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: Agreement between death certificate and self-reported job titles was poor (32%), while 67% of occupational categories matched the two sources. Kappa coefficients ranged from 0.53 for technical/sales/administrative jobs to 0.68 for homemakers. Agreement was lower, albeit nonsignificant, for women (kappa = 0.54, 95% Confidence Interval, CI = 0.44-0.63) than men (kappa = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.54-0.69) and for African-Americans (kappa = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.34-0.61) than whites (kappa = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.57-0.69) but varied only slightly by educational attainment.

CONCLUSION: While agreement between self- and death certificate reported job titles was poor, agreement between occupational categories was good. This suggests that while death certificates may not be a suitable source of occupational data where classification into specific job titles is essential, in the absence of other data, it is a reasonable source for constructing measures such as occupational SES that are based on grouped occupational data.

DOI10.1186/1471-2458-7-229
Alternate JournalBMC Public Health
PubMed ID17764567
PubMed Central IDPMC2020480
Grant ListN01HC55020 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01HC55018 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55022 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R01 HL064142 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG024376 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01-HL064142 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55016 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01HC55022 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55021 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01HC55015 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55019 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55015 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55020 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01HC55016 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01HC55019 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
T32-HL07055 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01-HC-55018 / HC / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
N01HC55021 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
T32 HL007055 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States