A low response rate does not necessarily indicate non-response bias in gastroenterology survey research: a population-based study
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To estimate the potential for response bias in standard mailed questionnaires used in surveys of GI symptoms in a community.
Subjects and methods
Validated self-report tools have been developed to measure functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders but response rates in community surveys have been rapidly declining in many parts of the world. Whether a lower community response rate introduces significant response bias in GI survey research is unknown. A questionnaire was mailed to a total of 5,069 randomly selected subjects. The overall response rate was 52 %. A random sample of 723 of these subjects (428 responders and 295 non-responders, stratified by age and gender) was selected for medical record abstraction (including both inpatient and outpatient history).
The odds for response increased in those with a higher body mass index (odds ratio (OR):1.02 [95 % CI: 1.01, 1.03]), more health care seeking behavior for non-GI problems (OR: 1.97 [95 % CI: 1.43, 2.72]), and for those who had responded to a previous survey (OR: 4.84 [95 % CI: 2.84, 8.26]). Responder status was not significantly associated with any GI symptoms or a diagnosis of GI or non-GI disease (with two exceptions, diverticulosis and skin disease).
Despite a response rate of only 52 %, the results of a community-based GI survey do not appear to be impacted by non-response bias in a major way. A low survey response rate does not necessarily indicate non-response bias.
- A low response rate does not necessarily indicate non-response bias in gastroenterology survey research: a population-based study
Journal of Public Health
Volume 21, Issue 1 , pp 87-95
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- Gastrointestinal surveys
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Enteric Neuroscience Program, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA
- 5. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
- 2. Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA
- 3. Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA
- 4. Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, BB2-06, Bowman Building, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia