Table 1

Overall number and ranking of reliability and validity tests for BRFSS estimates
Topic Number of reliability/ validity tests identified Quality of reliability tests Quality of validity tests Overall assessment of BRFSS validity and reliability
Access to Health Care/ General Health 4 High (test/retest) High (comparisons with other surveys and HMO records) High levels of reliability and validity using published information and test retest methods; BRFSS noted to have higher proportions of persons reporting poorer health.
Immunization and Preventive testing 4 High (test/retest) High (comparisons with other surveys, national registry data, medical records) BRFSS rates highly reliable; Validity testing against medical records of individuals high; Validity testing indicating over reporting for some screening tests
Physical activity 8 High (test/retest; time trend) High (comparisons with other surveys, respondent logs, accelerometers, physical measures) Better reliability assessment among physically active groups; self-reports substantially reliable; Validity when compared to physical measures moderate
Chronic conditions 4 High (test/retest; comparisons with telephone and written responses) High (comparisons with physical measures, prescription drug use data, medical history) High levels of agreement in reliability testing; Some differences in prevalence rates among national surveys when compared to physical measures.
Mental Health Measures 2 High (test/retest with multiple indicators) N/A Substantial agreement between test/retest measures
Obesity 3 N/A Moderate (comparisons against other national surveys, physical measures) Self-reports reliable across modes; Differences between self-reports and physical measures
Tobacco use 2 N/A Moderate (comparisons with other national surveys, physical measures) Self-reports reliable across modes; Differences between self-reports and physical measures
Alcohol/Substance abuse 2 Moderate Moderate (comparisons with other national surveys) Trends and risk factors in BRFSS validated by other national surveys; BRFSS prevalence rates lower than other measures at national level and some state levels
Health risk and Sexual behavior 2 N/A Moderate (comparisons with other national surveys) BRFSS produces slightly higher level estimates of measures than other national survey; Differences in prevalence rates of HIV testing question.
Injury and violence 1 N/A Moderate (comparisons with other survey in nonrandom setting) High levels of agreement between two surveys using nonrandom samples

Pierannunzi et al.

Pierannunzi et al. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2013 13:49   doi:10.1186/1471-2288-13-49

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