Validity and stability of self-reported health among adolescents in a longitudinal, nationally representative survey

Nathan E. Fosse, Steven A. Haas

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98 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES. The goals of this study to assess (1) the stability of self-reported health among a nationally representative sample of youth in adolescence over a period of 6 years, (2) the concordance of self-reported health between parents and children, and (3) the validity of self-reported health across a range of physical and emotional indicators of adolescent well-being. METHODS. This study uses data from rounds 1 to 7 (1997-2003) of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 Cohort (NLSY97). The sample consists of 6748 youth born between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 1984. Data on one of the youths' parents were also included in the baseline of the survey. Analyses were conducted using polychoric correlations and ordinal logistic regression. RESULTS. Self-reported health of adolescents over a 7-year period indicated moderate stability (40% agreement after 7 years for girls and 41% for boys). Concordance was also present between parents and their children, although the association was higher among same-gender pairings (mother-daughter and father-son concordances). Adolescents' self-reported health was also linked with the presence or absence of chronic health conditions, emotional problems, and with being overweight or obese but not with sensory conditions or physical deformity. CONCLUSIONS. Self-reported health is stable from early and middle adolescence to young adulthood. Self-reported health is also a valid measure of a variety of physical and emotional dimensions of adolescent well-being. The stability and validity of self-reported health do not differ by the gender of the child, although there is slightly greater concordance when the reporting parent is the same gender as the child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e496-e501
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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