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Journal Article


Janka EA, Vincze F, Adany R, Sandor J. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(2): e15020353.


Department of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Public Health, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, H-4012, Hungary.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






The Roma population is typified by a poor and, due to difficulties in ethnicity assessment, poorly documented health status. We aimed to compare the usefulness of self-reporting and observer-reporting in Roma classification for surveys investigating differences between Roma and non-Roma populations. Both self-reporting and observer-reporting of Roma ethnicity were applied in a population-based health interview survey. A questionnaire was completed by 1849 people aged 18–64 years; this questionnaire provided information on 52 indicators (morbidity, functionality, lifestyle, social capital, accidents, healthcare use) indicators. Multivariate logistic regression models controlling for age, sex, education and employment were used to produce indicators for differences between the self-reported Roma (N = 124) and non-Roma (N = 1725) populations, as well as between observer-reported Roma (N = 179) and non-Roma populations (N = 1670). Differences between interviewer-reported and self-reported individuals of Roma ethnicity in statistical inferences were observed for only seven indicators. The self-reporting approach was more sensitive for two indicators, and the observer-reported assessment for five indicators. Based on our results, the self-reported identity can be considered as a useful approach, and the application of observer-reporting cannot considerably increase the usefulness of a survey, because the differences between Roma and non-Roma individuals are much bigger than the differences between indicators produced by self-reported or observer-reported data on individuals of Roma ethnicity.

Keywords: Roma health; ethnicity assessment; self-reporting; observer-reporting; health interview survey

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Language: en


Roma health; ethnicity assessment; health interview survey; observer-reporting; self-reporting


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