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Last Edited: 3/18/2008

An assessment of error in parental occupation from the birth certificate
Written: 1990

This study used data obtained through interview with the mother to determine whether parental occupations from the California birth certificate were representative of maternal occupations during the first trimester of pregnancy or paternal occupations 3 months before conception. For 71% of mothers and 80% of fathers, the occupation on the birth certificate was the same as the occupation elicited from the Interview. The sensitivity of the birth certificate for determining whether a mother or father was employed or employed in a particular standard occupational category ranged from 50 to 100%. The bias to the odds ratio associated with a sensitivity of 75% and a specificity of 80% is presented. The results suggest that the use of birth certificate information on parental occupation to screen for associations with congenital malformations will miss all but very strong associations.




Suggested Citation

  • Shaw GM, Malcoe LH, Croen LA, Smith DF. An assessment of error in parental occupation from the birth certificate. American Journal of Epidemiology 1990; 131(6):1072-1079.