Self-report surveys are a common method of collecting data on protective equipment use in sport. The aim of this study was to assess the validity of self-reported use of appropriate protective eyewear by squash players. Surveys of squash players' appropriate protective eyewear behaviours were conducted over two consecutive years (2002 and 2003) at randomly-selected squash venues in Melbourne, Australia. Over the two years, 1219 adult players were surveyed (response rate of 92%). Trained observers also recorded the actual on-court appropriate protective eyewear behaviours of all players during the survey sessions. Eyewear use rates calculated from both data sources were compared. The self-reported appropriate protective eyewear use rate (9.4%; 95% CI 7.8, 11.0) was significantly higher (1.6 times more) than the observed rate (5.9%; 95% CI 4.6, 7.2). This suggests that players may over-report their use of appropriate protective equipment, though some may have incorrectly classified their eyewear as being appropriate or suitably protective. Studies that rely only on self-report data on protective equipment use need to take into account that this could lead to biased estimates.
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Acknowledgements This study was funded by an NHMRC Translational Grant in Injury. Rochelle Eime was funded by an NHMRC Public Health Postgraduate Research Scholarship. Paul Vear, Executive Director of the Victorian Squash Federation, is thanked for his valuable and ongoing supportive role in this squash eyewear research project.