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Validity of self reported crashes and injuries in a longitudinal study of young adults


Objectives—The aim of this study was to determine the validity of self report as a source of information on crashes and injuries.

Setting—This study was part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS), which is a longitudinal study of the health, development, and behaviour of a cohort of young New Zealanders.

Method—At the age 21 assessment DMHDS study members were asked to report serious injury and motor vehicle traffic crashes experienced over the previous three years. The self reported injuries were compared with the New Zealand Health Information Service (NZHIS) public hospital discharge file to determine the completeness of the self reported data. The traffic crashes were compared with the police traffic crash reports to determine the accuracy of self reported crash details.

Results—Twenty five (86%) of the 29 unintentional injuries, six (67%) of the nine assaults, and one (14%) of the six self inflicted injuries on the NZHIS file were self reported. The level of agreement between the self reported crash details and those recorded on the traffic crash report was high.

Conclusions—The results show that self reports can be a useful and valid source of injury and crash data.

  • self report
  • validity
  • hospitalised injury
  • traffic crashes

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