Evaluation of a Novel Ambient Light Survey Question in the Cancer Prevention Study-3

W. Ryan Diver, Mariana G. Figueiro, Mark S. Rea, James M. Hodge, W. Dana Flanders, Charlie Zhong, Alpa V. Patel, Susan M. Gapstur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nighttime light exposure may increase cancer risk by disrupting the circadian system. However, there is no well-established survey method for measuring ambient light. In the Cancer Prevention Study-3, 732 men and women answered a light survey based on seven environments. The light environment in the past year was assessed twice, one year apart, and four one-week diaries were collected between the annual surveys. A total of 170 participants wore a meter to measure photopic illuminance and circadian stimulus (CS). Illuminance and CS values were estimated for lighting environments from measured values and evaluated with a cross validation approach. The kappas for self-reported light environment comparing the two annual surveys were 0.61 on workdays and 0.49 on non-workdays. Kappas comparing the annual survey to weekly diaries were 0.71 and 0.57 for work and non-workdays, respectively. Agreement was highest for reporting of darkness (95.3%), non-residential light (86.5%), and household light (75.6%) on workdays. Measured illuminance and CS identified three peaks of light (darkness, indoor lighting, and outdoor daytime light). Estimated illuminance and CS were correlated with the measured values overall (r = 0.77 and r = 0.67, respectively) but were less correlated within each light environment (r = 0.23–0.43). The survey has good validity to assess ambient light for studies of human health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3658
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • ambient light
  • circadian disruption
  • illuminance
  • survey
  • validation


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