• Hypertension;
  • Risk;
  • Parental history;
  • Family history;
  • Offspring

In hypertensive risk studies, offspring reports are often used to establish parental history of hypertension. This method is simple and less costly than contacting parents and has been reported to be ≥84% accurate when compared with parental confirmation. The present study examined two components that contribute to overall accuracy: sensitivity (correct identification of high blood pressure) and specificity (correct identification of normal blood pressure). Undergraduate volunteers (282 women, 211 men) provided parental blood pressure information, and then blood pressure history questionnaires were mailed to their biological parents. Comparison of offspring and parent reports revealed a combination of high specificity (92.9%) and low sensitivity (68.2%), suggesting that offspring reports may be misleading when attempting to identify hypertensive parents.