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Rebecca Cerminaro, Hanna Gardner, Jessica Dollar, Sandra Shultz, Laurie Wideman, Donna Duffy. University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

BACKGROUND: Menstrual cycle characteristics (i.e. presence, regularity) can change appreciably across a female’s lifespan. Menstrual cycle disturbances are particularly common during the adolescent years and can have implications later in life. The Health and Reproductive Survey (HeRS) is a retrospective tool designed to collect reproductive history among females. In utilizing this tool, a more comprehensive understanding of menstrual cycle variation across the lifespan can be obtained.. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of women to reliably recall their menstrual cycle characteristics when they were 13-18 years of age.METHODS: This survey was assessed in a test-retest design across a 4-month span to determine recall reliability of survey responses and focused on questions pertaining to menstrual cycle regularity during mid- to late-adolescence. A Cohen’s Kappa agreement was performed for the recall reliability of survey questions using the following cut points: 0 = chance; 0.1-0.2 = slight; 0.21-0.4 = fair; 0.41-0.6 = moderate; 0.61-0.8 = substantial; 0.81-0.99 = near perfect; 1 = perfect. Additionally, 95% Limits of agreement (LOA) determined the absolute error between values reported at baseline and 4-months. RESULTS: Of the 144 females (32.73 +/- 11.9 yrs of age) who completed the HeRS at both time points, 43% reported irregular cycles (>12 cycles or <10 cycles per year) and 18% reported physician diagnosis of disordered menstrual cycles during mid- to late-adolescence, which are higher than what are currently reported. Recall reliability of the ‘average number of menstrual cycles per year’ was within 1.5 years in 95% of the cases (LOA= -0.04+/-1.5 yrs), while recall of ‘whether a cycle stopped for 2+ months’ had moderate-substantial agreement (0.61). The ability to recall the ‘longest length of time a cycle stopped’ was more variable (95% LOA= 1.5 +/- 13.1 mo). There was moderate agreement (0.58) of one’s ‘ability to recall being diagnosed with a menstrual cycle disturbance’ (e.g. amenorrhea), while the ability to recall use of (0.9) and form of (0.8) birth control revealed substantial-near perfect agreements. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study largely support the fidelity of utilizing the HeRS to retrospectively assess menstrual characteristics during the mid- to late-adolescent years.

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