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Article |

Recall and Reporting of Life Events-Reply

C. David Jenkins, PhD; Michael W. Hurst, EDD; Robert M. Rose, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(4):485. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780170127017.
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ABSTRACT

We agree with Professor

Paykel that the recall and reporting of life events is more complex than is generally recognized. Use of an interview has the potential of providing better-quality data than an unsupervised paper-and-pencil method in that the interviewer can better focus the subject on the defined time period and apply a consistent set of definitions of events and their thresholds. There is a danger, however, that this reduction in error variance might be partially replaced by systematic bias unless the interviewers are kept "blind" to the clinical status of participants in a retrospective study and unless all probing and defining is done in the same way for all subjects. This can only be achieved if interviewers adhere to a standard protocol for conducting their inquiry.

The cited 9% difference in the frequency of events recalled (at a single interview) for two consecutive, sixmonth periods is not notably different

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