Evaluation of non-response bias in mental health determinants and outcomes in a large sample of pre-adolescents
Accepted: 14 October 2004 DOI:
Cite this article as: de Winter, A.F., Oldehinkel, A.J., Veenstra, R. et al. Eur J Epidemiol (2005) 20: 173. doi:10.1007/s10654-004-4948-6 Abstract
Since non-response may jeopardize the validity of studies, comprehensive assessment of non-response is a prerequisite for proper interpretation of study findings. Recently, the baseline assessment of the TRacking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a prospective cohort study among Dutch pre-adolescents, was completed. The aim of this report is to examine non-response bias by comparing responders and non-responders regarding mental health determinants (e.g., demographics and cognitive performance) and outcomes, as well as associations between the two. Furthermore, we examine whether extended efforts to recruit participants contribute to the prevention or reduction of non-response bias. Thanks to various recruitment procedures, the initial response rate of 66% increased to a final rate of 76%. The extended efforts to recruit participants prevented non-response bias in the prevalence rates of psychopathology. Although non-responders differed from responders with respect to several individual characteristics, no significant differences were found regarding associations between these characteristics and psychopathology. We conclude that TRAILS provides a solid basis to improve our understanding of the development of mental health during adolescence.
Keywords Adolescent behavior Cohort studies Longitudinal studies Mental health Prospective studies Selection bias Abbreviation CI
generalized linear model
tracking adolescents’ individual lives survey
References Brandenburg, NA, Friedman, RM, Silver, SE 1990 The epidemiology of childhood psychiatric disorders: Prevalence findings from recent studies. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 29 76 83 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Frame, CL, Strauss, CC 1987 Parental informed consent and sample bias in grade-school children. J Soc Clin Psychol 5 227 236 Google Scholar Gerrits, MH, van, den Oord EJ, Voogt, R 2001 An evaluation of nonresponse bias in peer, self, and teacher ratings of children’s psychosocial adjustment. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 42 593 602 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Noll, RB, Zeller, MH, Vannatta, K, Bukowski, WM, Davies, WH 1997 Potential bias in classroom research: Comparison of children with permission and those who do not receive permission to participate. J Clin Child Psychol 26 36 42 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Lewinsohn, PM, Hops, H, Roberts, RE, Seeley, JR, Andrews, JA 1993 Adolescents psychopathology: I. Prevalence and incidence of depression and other DSM-III-R disorders in high school students. J Abnorm Psychol 102 133 144 Google Scholar Dunne, MP, Martin, NG, Bailey, JM, et al. 1997 Participation bias in a sexuality survey: Psychological and behavioural characteristics of responders and non-responders. Int J Epidemiol 26 844 854 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Kessler, RC, Little, RJ, Groves, RM 1995 Advances in strategies for minimizing and adjusting for survey nonresponse. Epidemiol Rev 17 192 204 PubMed Google Scholar
Groves RM. Survey Errors and Survey Costs. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 1989.
Heberlein, TA, Baumgartner, R 1978 Factors affecting response rates to mailed questionnaires: A quantitative analysis of the published literature. Am Sociol Rev 43 447 462 CrossRef Google Scholar Achenbach, TM 1991Manual of the Teacher’s Report Form and 1991 Profile. University of Vermont Burlington Google Scholar Kupersmidt, JB, Coie, JD 1990 Preadolescent peer status, aggression, and school adjustment as predictors of externalizing problems in adolescence. Child Dev 61 1350 1362 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Darroch, J 1997 Biologic synergism and parallelism. Am J Epidemiol 145 661 668 PubMed Google Scholar Verhulst, FC, der, EJ, Ferdinand, RF, Kasius, MC 1997 The prevalence of DSM-III-R diagnoses in a national sample of Dutch adolescents. Arch Gen Psychiatry 54 329 336 PubMed Google Scholar Hackett, R, Hackett, L, Bhakta, P, Gowers, S 1999 The prevalence and associations of psychiatric disorder in children in Kerala, South India. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 40 801 807 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Roberts, RE, Attkisson, CC, Rosenblatt, A 1998 Prevalence of psychopathology among children and adolescents. Am J Psychiatry 155 715 725 PubMed Google Scholar Newman, D, Moffitt, TE, Caspi, A, Magdol, L, Silva, PA, Stanton, W 1996 Psychiatric disorder in a birth cohort of young adults: Prevalence, comorbidity, clinical significance, and new case incidence from age 11 to 21. J Consul Clin Psychol 64 552 562 CrossRef Google Scholar Hofstra, MB, der, EJ, Verhulst, FC 2002 Pathways of self-reported problem behaviors from adolescence into adulthood. Am J Psychiatry 159 401 407 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Ferdinand, RF, Blum, M, Verhulst, FC 2001 Psychopathology in adolescence predicts substance use in young adulthood. Addiction 96 861 870 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Brook, JS, Cohen, P, Brook, DW 1998 Longitudinal study of co-occurring psychiatric disorders and substance use. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 37 322 330 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Brook, JS, Whiteman, M, Finch, SJ, Cohen, P 1996 Young adult drug use and delinquency: Childhood antecedents and adolescent mediators. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 35 1584 1592 CrossRef PubMed Google Scholar Milberger, S, Biederman, J, Faraone, SV, Chen, L, Jones, J 1997 ADHD is associated with early initiation of cigarette smoking in children and adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36 37 44 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Fergusson, DM, Horwood, LJ, Shannon, FT, Lawton, JM 1989 The Christchurch Child Development Study: A review of epidemiological findings. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 3 302 325 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Ferdinand, RF, Verhulst, FC 1995 Psychopathology from adolescence into young adulthood: And 8-year follow-up study. Am J Psychiatry 152 1586 1594 PubMed Google Scholar Fergusson, DM, Lynskey, MT, Horwood, LJ 1996 Factors associated with continuity and changes in disruptive behavior patterns between childhood and adolescence. J Abnorm Child Psychol 24 533 553 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Laitinen-Krispijn, S, Ende, Jvd, Hazebroek-Kampschreur, AAJM, Verhulst, FC 1999 Pubertal maturation and the development of behavioural and emotional problems in early adolescence. Acta Psy Scand 99 16 25 CrossRef Google Scholar Hofstra, MB, der, EJ, Verhulst, FC 2001 Adolescents’ self-reported problems as predictors of psychopathology in adulthood: 10-year follow-up study. Br J Psychiatry 179 203 209 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Wittchen, HU, Stein, MB, Kessler, RC 1999 Social fears and social phobia in a community sample of adolescents and young adults: Prevalence, risk factors and co-morbidity. Psychol Med 29 309 323 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Fergusson, DM, Horwood, LJ 2001 The Christchurch Health and Development Study: Review of findings on child and adolescent mental health. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 35 287 296 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Woodward, M, Williams, P, Nursten, J, Badger, D 1999 The epidemiology of mentally disordered offending: A systematic review of studies, based in the general population, of criminality combined with psychiatric illness. J Epidemiol Biostat 4 101 113 PubMed Google Scholar Costello, EJ, Mustillo, S, Erkanli, A, Keeler, G, Angold, A 2003 Prevalence and development of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence. Arch Gen Psychiatry 60 837 844 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Caspi, A, McClay, J, Moffitt, TE, et al. 2002 Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children. Science 297 851 854 CrossRef PubMed Google Scholar Silva, PA, Stanton, WR 1996From child to adult. The Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study Oxford University Press Oxford Google Scholar
Steeh CG. Trends in Nonresponse Rates, 1952–1979. Public Opinion Quarterly 45, 40–57. 1981. Elsevier North-Holland, Inc.
Riedel-Heller, SG, Schork, A, Matschinger, H, Angermeyer, MC 2000 Recruitment procedures and their impact on the prevalence of dementia. Results from the Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged (LEILA75+) Neuroepidemiology 19 130 140 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Voigt, LF, Koepsell, TD, Daling, JR 2003 Characteristics of telephone survey respondents according to willingness to participate. Am J Epidemiol 157 66 73 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Brogger, J, Bakke, P, Eide, GE, Gulsvik, A 2003 Contribution of follow-up of non-responders to prevalence and risk estimates: A Norwegian respiratory health survey. Am J Epidemiol 157 558 566 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Bakke, P, Gulsvik, A, Lilleng, P, Overa, O, Hanoa, R, Eide, GE 1990 Postal survey on airborne occupational exposure and respiratory disorders in Norway: Causes and consequences of non-response. J Epidemiol Commun Health 44 316 320 CrossRef Google Scholar Paganini-Hill, A, Hsu, G, Chao, A, Ross, RK 1993 Comparison of early and late respondents to a postal health survey questionnaire. Epidemiology 4 375 379 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar
Goor van H, Verhage AL. Nonresponse and recall errors in a study of absence because of Illness: An analysis of their effects on distributions and relationships. Quality and Quantity 33, 411–428. 1999. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Esser, G, Schmidt, MH, Woerner, W 1990 Epidemiology and course of psychiatric disorders in school-age children–results of a longitudinal study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 31 243 263 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar Sheikh, K 1998 Late response vs. non-response to mail questionnaire Ann Epidemiol 8 75 76 PubMed CrossRef Google Scholar