142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Assessing data quality in a community-based longitudinal study with middle-school adolescents

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Virginia T. Guidry, MPH, PhD , Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Christine Gray, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Amy Lowman, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Devon Hall Sr. , Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, Warsaw, NC
Steve Wing, PhD , Dept. of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: Longitudinal studies require sustained levels of high quality data to estimate temporal exposure-disease relationships. Adolescents may be particularly susceptible to study fatigue.

Methods: The Rural Air Pollutants and Children’s Health study measured air pollutants (particulate matter <10µm in diameter and hydrogen sulfide) from industrial livestock operations at three North Carolina middle schools while 340 adolescents completed baseline surveys and daily diaries (symptoms, odor reports, and measured lung function) for 3-5 weeks in 2009. We assessed data quality using: 1) percentage of complete daily records (data completeness), 2) log-binomial and linear models assessing associations between baseline and diary responses (internal consistency) and, 3) fixed effects linear and logistic models evaluating day-in-study as a predictor of diary reports and pollutant concentrations (change over time).

Results: Of 5728 diary records, 94.2% were complete. Allergies were associated with asthma (Prevalence ratio=2.7, 95% Confidence Interval: 1.7, 4.3). Current asthma was associated with increased symptom reports (12% for headache, 7% wheeze, 10% backache), as was undiagnosed wheeze (17% for runny nose, 22% headache, 25% sore throat). Peak expiratory flow was 0.10 Liters/minute higher per year of age, 0.18 higher for males, and 0.11 higher per inch of height. Mean livestock odor scored 0-4 was 0.28 higher among students reporting livestock exposure at home. Lung function measures, symptom frequency, and odor scores declined substantially during follow-up, while pollutant concentrations remained variable. 

Conclusion: Data completeness and internal consistency do not translate to sustained data quality. Longitudinal studies with adolescents need short follow-up and efforts to maintain engagement.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Define the limitations of longitudinal data collection in adolescent populations Describe methods for empirically evaluating data quality over time Discuss strategies for improving data quality in longitudinal studies with adolescents

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I study the impact of air pollutants on communities with a focus on environmental justice and community-based research. my current research is examining the respiratory health effects experienced by children who attend schools near industrial livestock operations.I conducted data collection, conducted analyses, and led the writing of this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.