Reliability of Self-Reported Lifestyle Exposures before, during, and after Pregnancy in Autism Studies

Friday, May 13, 2016: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall A (Baltimore Convention Center)
R. J. Schmidt1, P. C. Chen2, C. Walker3, I. Hertz-Picciotto4 and D. J. Tancredi5, (1)Public Health Sciences and MIND Institute, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, (2)Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, (3)MIND Institute, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, (4)Dept of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, UC Davis MIND Institute, Davis, CA, (5)Pediatrics, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA

Questionnaires can help advance research on environmental risk factors for autism when biomarker sample collection and analyses are too expensive or invasive, but only when exposures can be reported reliably.


To compare agreement of maternal retrospective report of lifestyle exposures in and around pregnancy on the ELEAT (Early Life Exposure Assessment Tool) with prospectively collected responses regarding the same exposures. 


Participants (n=130) from the MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies-Learning Early Signs) prospective  cohort study of high-risk siblings of children with autism completed structured telephone interviews during pregnancy and then again with the ELEAT, a shorter instrument administered 2 or more years postpartum. Agreement was assessed with Cohen’s Kappa statistic (K), sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp) and Youden’s index (Y=Se+Sp-1) for each exposure ever during the index period (3 months before pregnancy until the end of breastfeeding) and during six time periods: 3 months before pregnancy, pregnancy, each trimester of pregnancy, and during breastfeeding (if a maternal exposure) or the child’s first year of life (if an exposure to the child). 


Retrospective reporting of maternal cigarette smoking (K=0.60, Y=0.54), other smokers within the home (K=1, Y=1), coffee drinking (K=0.64, Y=0.67), energy drinks (K=0.55, Y=0.75), alcohol (K=0.54, Y=0.63), illicit drugs (K=0.72, Y=0.57), and teeth clenching (K=0.87, Y=0.92) agreed substantially with prospective reports for the index period, but weakly to modestly agreed when taking into account timing (K/Y=0.05-0.60). Caffeinated soda (K=0.24, Y=0.42) and tea (K=0.32, Y=0.40), and sunscreen use (K=0.25, Y=0.26) during the index period had fair to moderate agreement. Sauna, hot tub and Jacuzzi use (K=0.04, Y=0.03) and maternal dental amalgam fillings (K=-0.08, Y=0.24) did not agree. Several exposures were rarely reported during pregnancy. 


Retrospective reports of most lifestyle exposures were reliable; future studies need to assess validity.

See more of: Epidemiology
See more of: Epidemiology