The effects of recall on estimating annual nonfatal injury rates for children and adolescents

Y. Harel, M. D. Overpeck, D. H. Jones, P. C. Scheidt, P. E. Bijur, A. C. Trumble, J. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study used a recent national population survey on childhood and adolescent non-fatal injuries to investigate the effects of recall bias on estimating annual injury rates. Strategies to adjust for recall bias are recommended. Methods. The 1988 Child Health Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey collected 12-month recall information on injuries that occurred to a national sample of 17 110 children aged 0 through 17 years. Using information on timing of interviews and reported injuries, estimated annual injury rates were calculated for 12 accumulative recall periods (from 1 to 12 months). Results. The data show significantly declining rates, from 24.4 per 100 for a 1-month recall period to 14.7 per 100 for a 12-month recall period. The largest declines were found for the 0- through 4- year-old age group and for minor injuries. Rates of injuries that caused a school loss day, a bed day, surgery, or hospitalization showed higher stability throughout recall periods. Conclusions. Varying recall periods have profound effects on the patterns of childhood injury epidemiology that emerge from the data. Recall periods of between 1 and 3 months are recommended for use in similar survey settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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