Telescoping in dating naturally occurring events

The study goals were to determine whether the extent of bias differs, on average, across subpopulations with diverse sociodemographic characteristics, prior smoking habits and duration of smoking abstinence, and across the survey administration mode (phone, in-person, mixed).

The sample included 1,611 subjects who responded to the 2002-2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Multiple regressions for subjects who quit smoking recently, some time ago, and a long time ago were fitted, where the variance was estimated via the Balanced Repeated Replications approach.

The model-based estimates were used to compare the extent of response bias across diverse subpopulations of respondents.

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The most consistent finding of this literature is that the initiation age of cigarette smoking is subject to forward telescoping.However, one recent study encountered evidence of both types of telescoping in reports of the fairly regular smoking initiation age [12], which corresponded to the response to the survey question: “How old were you when you first started smoking cigarettes fairly regularly? The fairly regular smoking initiation age was also discussed in other studies [11], where the overall consistency of responses has been explored in relation to proxy and self-reports over two occasions, one year apart.It was found that self-reports are more consistent than proxy or mixed reports (i.e., reports that include self-report at one time point and proxy-report at another) [11].Proxy-reports of the fairly regular smoking initiation age were also found to be consistent overall, although less reliable than self-reports, while the mixed reports are not consistent [11].There have been several factors identified in the literature as potential predictors of telescoping bias and the type of telescoping. In several non-medical studies it was found that the type of telescoping may depend on whether the event has occurred recently or a long time ago [7].

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