Journal Article

Response Rates to a Questionnaire 26 Years after Baseline Examination with Minimal Interim Participant Contact and Baseline Differences between Respondents and Nonrespondents

Amber Pirzada, Lijing L. Yan, Daniel B. Garside, Linda Schiffer, Alan R. Dyer and Martha L. Daviglus

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 159, issue 1, pages 94-101
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwh012
Response Rates to a Questionnaire 26 Years after Baseline Examination with Minimal Interim Participant Contact and Baseline Differences between Respondents and Nonrespondents

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Research on response rates to surveys mailed to study participants decades after baseline examination, with minimal interim contact, is limited. This paper documents response rates to a 26-year follow-up survey of surviving participants from a large cohort in Illinois and compares baseline characteristics of nonrespondents and respondents. Mortality follow-up of the Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry 1967–1973 cohort involved minimal or no participant contact since baseline. In 1996, a 26-year follow-up questionnaire was mailed to all surviving participants aged 65 years or older. Current addresses were obtained from the Health Care Financing Administration for 96.5 percent of 12,409 participants in our analyses. Total response rates were 59.8 percent and, for participants for whom Health Care Financing Administration addresses were available, 60.8 percent. A higher response rate was obtained for younger recipients, men, Whites, more-educated persons, nonsmokers, and those with a better cardiovascular risk profile at baseline. A graded negative relation was found between number of cardiovascular risk factors at baseline and response rates obtained in 1996. Use of Health Care Financing Administration records as an additional follow-up method and factors that influence response rates are discussed. In conclusion, long-term follow-up of older surviving participants is feasible if current addresses can be obtained from standardized sources.

Keywords: aged; data collection; epidemiologic methods; follow-up studies; health surveys; Abbreviations: HCFA, Health Care Financing Administration; NCOA, National Change of Address.

Journal Article.  4896 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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