National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences   —  National Institutes of Health   —  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Sister Study

Baseline data collection

The baseline data collection materials include a two‐part telephone interview divided into 16 sections, including 19 modules on specific occupations; four self-administered forms; and an Examiner Specimen Collection and Measurement form completed by a mobile phlebotomist.

Questionnaires can be accessed through the links below.
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Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI)

Questionnaire can be accessed here: CATI Interview Part 1 & Part 2 (PDF 1604 KB)

Title Description

Personal History of Cancer

Questions about previous cancer diagnoses, BRCA1/2 testing


Sister History

Questions about all biological sisters (full and half), their vital status, histories of cancer, including breast cancer


General Health and Breast Conditions

Questions about overall health, dental health, cancer screenings, breast exams, breast conditions and surgeries


Environmental Exposures/ Residential History

Questions about some of the participant’s residences, including detailed questions about the household and the neighborhood where it is located; includes questions about current residence(s), residence at which participant lived the longest since the age of 20, and the residence where she lived the longest before age 14

Following data collection, addresses have been geocoded and linked to other data (e.g. air pollution and census measures)


Residential Farm Exposures

Questions for participants who had lived on a farm during childhood or adulthood including history of farm residence, raising of animals, crops, and pesticides


Physical Activity, Sun Exposure, and Hobbies

Questions about physical activities including sports, exercises, and chores around the home or garden, time spent outdoors in daylight and hobbies or crafts done on a regular basis that may involve environmental exposures



History of smoking and exposure to cigarette smoke from other people



History and current use of alcohol including beer and other malt beverages, wine, wine coolers, and liquor


Sleep Patterns

Questions about usual and recent sleep patterns, light conditions during sleep, napping, and sleep medications


Socioeconomic Characteristics

Background questions including country of birth, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, education, income, parental figures during childhood and their education levels, general economic status and food security as a child, and questions about experiences with stress and coping in the past 30 days


Title Description

Occupation -
Job History

Questions about current employment status and history of all jobs, military service, and volunteer work that took at least 10 hours per week since the age of 18


Occupation -
Exposure History

Questions on work conditions, exposures, schedule, industry, usual activities, specific chemicals and other materials ever used in any of the jobs held, and exposure to computer screens and video displays


Occupation Job Modules

Detailed questions are asked in separate modules for 19 occupations:

  • Building Construction
  • Cleaning and Housekeeping
  • Cosmetics and Perfumes
  • Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Dental Assistants, and Dental Lab Workers
  • Doctor or Physician
  • Dry Cleaner
  • Factory Worker
  • Farming
  • Hairdresser, Barber, Assistant in Beauty Salon
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Manicurist/Pedicurist
  • Microchip Manufacturing
  • Mine or Quarry
  • Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Student Nurse, Physician Assistant
  • Nursery, Greenhouse, Lawn Care
  • Painter
  • Radiology Technician
  • Road Construction
  • Teacher

Menarche, Pregnancy and Infertility

Questions about reproductive history, menstrual cycles, planned or unplanned pregnancies, use of different birth control methods



Questions about use of birth control methods that involve hormones, including hormonal birth control methods used for contraception, control of menstrual cycles, or other medical reasons, hormone replacement therapy, medical procedures that may stop menstrual periods, current menstrual status and date of last menstrual period, symptoms of menopause, and use of other hormones


Medical Conditions

Questions about medical conditions, and medications taken for these conditions


Other Medications

Questions about all other current medications not previously reported; additional questions on prior use of pain and inflammation medications and antibiotics


Anthropometry and Growth and Development

Questions about current height and weight, during her 30s, teen years, and around the age of 10


Questionnaire can be accessed here: CATI Interview Part 1 & Part 2 (PDF 1604 KB)


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Self-Administered Forms

Links to questionnaires can be found in the table below. If you need assistance accessing these files, please click here to contact us.

Title Description

Family History Questionnaire
(PDF 250 KB)

Questions about participant’s birth, mother’s experience before and during her pregnancy with the participant, and questions about other biological family members


Diet Questionnaire
(PDF 1058 KB)

We are currently in the process of making this document Section 508 compliant.

The Block 98 Food Frequency Questionnaire assesses current diet and was followed by an analysis of specific nutrients. Questions about dietary supplements, childhood diet, cooking methods, and use of complementary or alternative healing practices were also included.


Personal Care Questionnaire
(PDF 146 KB)

Questions ask about products women may have used (e.g. hair products, cosmetics, other grooming products) during two time periods:

  • ages 10-13
  • past 12 months preceding questionnaire completion

Past 24 Hours Questionnaire
(PDF 82 KB)

Women are instructed to complete this questionnaire just before the visit from the mobile phlebotomist. It captures the conditions under which specimens were collected:

  • use of medications, alcohol, cigarettes, and chemical products during the 24 hours preceding the blood collection
  • other environmental exposures during the weeks preceding the blood collection


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Examiner-Administered Form

A link to the questionnaire can be found in the table below. If you need assistance accessing this file, please click here to contact us.

Title Description

Examiner Specimen Collection and Measurement Form
(PDF 1164 KB)

The mobile phlebotomist collects and records biometric measurements including blood pressure, pulse, weight, height, waist and hip circumference


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