A comparison of self-reported data on disability pension status with data from a nationwide administrative register

Ingeborg Hartz, Aage Tverdal, Svetlana Skurtveit


Objectives: Validation studies of self-reported disability pension status have been scarce. The objective of this study was to estimate the sensitivity and specificity, as well as positive and negative predictive values of self-reported disability pension status using an official administrative register as reference standard.

Methods: Data from Cohort of Norway (CONOR) surveys conducted in 2001 in the three Norwegian counties Oslo (HUBRO), Hedmark and Oppland (OPPHED) are included in this study, altogether 17,244 individuals. At the time of investigation, the subjects included in our study-population were aged 30-31, 40-41, 45-47 and 59-61 years. Self-reported data on disability pension status was compared with data from the nationwide population and housing census in Norway (Statistics Norway), performed November 3rd 2001. Data were linked using the unique 11-digit identification number, assigned to all individuals living in Norway.

Results: Sensitivity and specificity for self-reported questions on disability pension were 97.6% (95% CI 91.1-94.1) and 96.8% (96.5-97.1). Positive and negative predictive values were 70.1% (67.9-72.3) and 99.8% (99.7-99.9). Validity measures in a subpopulation, those surveyed in October-November 2001, were almost identical as for the total study-population surveyed in 2001.

Conclusion: The sensitivity of self-reported disability pension status was high. The positive predictive value was lower which may reflect a low prevalence.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5324/nje.v19i2.587

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