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Evaluation Of The Quality Of Coding Of Job Episodes Collected By Self Questionnaires Among French Retired Men For Use In A Job-exposure Matrix

C. Pilorget, E. Imbernon, M. Goldberg, S. Bonenfant, Y. Spyckerelle, B. Fournier, J. Steinmetz, A. Schmaus
Published 2003 · Medicine

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Background and Aims: The ESPACES study was intended to identify retirees who may have been, according to their job descriptions, exposed to asbestos during their working lives. As part of this study, we analysed the quality of the occupation and activity sector coding as well as its effect on the subjects’ exposure status. Methods: The occupation and activity sector for a sample of 450 retired men were coded twice (with the second coder blinded to the first result), according to the international codes for industries (ISIC-1975) and occupations (ISCO-1968). For each series, linking the information about a job episode (dates, ISIC code, ISCO code) with the matrix allowed attribution of a probability of asbestos exposure to each episode and each subject. The asbestos exposure in the two series was compared by the kappa reproducibility coefficient. Results: The analysis concerned 425 questionnaires. There was at least one difference in the code for either activity sector (ISIC) or occupation (ISCO) in half the episodes (50.2%). The exposure status estimated by the job-exposure matrix did not change between the series for 84.7% of the subjects. The kappa coefficient was 0.64 for all questionnaires, 0.70 when the questionnaire was coded twice by the same coder, and 0.62 when coded by two different coders. Conclusions: Despite intra- and inter-differences between coders, the coding of job episodes for the ESPACES study appears satisfactory and hence indicates that the assessment of the subjects’ asbestos exposure was assessed without major distortions. This study underlines the usefulness of employing coders specifically trained for this technique.
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