Validity and reliability of an occupational exposure questionnaire for parkinsonism in welders

Angela J. Hobson, David A. Sterling, Brett Emo, Bradley A. Evanoff, Callen S. Sterling, Laura Good, Noah Seixas, Harvey Checkoway, Brad A. Racette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This study assessed the validity and test-retest reliability of a medical and occupational history questionnaire for workers performing welding in the shipyard industry. This self-report questionnaire was developed for an epidemiologic study of the risk of parkinsonism in welders. Validity participants recruited from three similar shipyards were asked to give consent for access to personnel files and complete the questionnaire. Responses on the questionnaire were compared with information extracted from personnel records. Reliability participants were recruited from the same shipyards and were asked to complete the questionnaire at two different times approximately 4 weeks apart. Percent agreement, kappa, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), and sensitivity and specificity were used as measures of validity and/or reliability. Personnel files were obtained for 101 of 143 participants (70%) in the validity study, and 56 of the 95 (58.9%) participants in the reliability study completed the retest of the questionnaire. Validity scores for items extracted from personnel files were high. Percent agreement for employment dates and job titles ranged from 83-100%, while ICC for start and stop dates ranged from 0.93-0.99. Sensitivity and specificity for current job title ranged from 0.5-1.0. Reliability scores for demographic, medical and health behavior items were mainly moderate or high, but ranged from 0.19 to 1.0. Most recent job/title items such as title, types of welding performed, and material used showed substantial to perfect agreement. Certain determinants of exposure such as days and hours per week exposed to welding fumes demonstrated mainly moderate agreement (κ = 0.42-0.47, percent agreement 63-77%); however, mean days and hours reported did not differ between test and retest. The results of this study suggest that participants' self-report for job title and dates employed are valid compared with employer records. While kappa scores were low for some medical conditions and for caffeine consumption, high kappa scores for job title, dates worked, types of welding, and materials welded suggest participants generated reproducible answers important for occupational exposure assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-331
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Parkinsonism
  • Self-report questionnaire
  • Test-retest reliability
  • Validity
  • Welding exposures


Dive into the research topics of 'Validity and reliability of an occupational exposure questionnaire for parkinsonism in welders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this