A comparison of self-reported data on disability pension status with data from a nationwide administrative register

The proportion of Norwegians on disability pension has doubled since the 1980s, which pose both economical and societal challenges to the society. The phenomenon has raised the interest of research into the sickness absence and disability pension field.


Validation studies of self-reported disability pension status have been scarce. The objective of this study was to estimate the sensitivity and specificity, as well as positive and negative predictive values of self-reported disability pension status using an official administrative register as reference standard.


Data from Cohort of Norway (CONOR) surveys conducted in 2001 in the three Norwegian counties Oslo (HUBRO), Hedmark and Oppland (OPPHED) are included in this study, altogether 17,244 individuals.

At the time of investigation, the subjects included in our study-population were aged 30-31, 40-41, 45-47 and 59-61 years.

Self-reported data on disability pension status was compared with data from the nationwide population and housing census in Norway (Statistics Norway), performed November 3rd 2001.

Data were linked using the unique 11-digit identification number, assigned to all individuals living in Norway.


Sensitivity and specificity for self-reported questions on disability pension were 97.6% (95% CI 91.1-94.1) and 96.8% (96.5-97.1). Positive and negative predictive values were 70.1% (67.9-72.3) and
99.8% (99.7-99.9).

Validity measures in a subpopulation, those surveyed in October-November 2001, were almost identical as for the total study-population surveyed in 2001.


The sensitivity of self-reported disability pension status was high. The positive predictive value was lower which may reflect a low prevalence.

Norsk Epidemiologi 2009; 19 (2): 169-172

Last ned artikkel her

Av Ingeborg Hartz, Aage Tverdal, Svetlana Skurtveit
Publisert 26. apr. 2011 13:36 - Sist endret 20. juni 2011 14:20