European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 489–496

Baseline recruitment and analyses of nonresponse of the Heinz Nixdorf recall study: Identifiability of phone numbers as the major determinant of response

  • A. Stang
  • S. Moebus
  • N. Dragano
  • E. M. Beck
  • S. Möhlenkamp
  • A. Schmermund
  • J. Siegrist
  • R. Erbel
  • K. H. Jöckel


The Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study is an ongoing population-based prospective cardiovascular cohort study of the Ruhr area in Germany. This paper focuses on the recruitment strategy and its response results including a comparison of participants of the baseline examination with nonparticipants. Random samples of the general population were drawn from residents’ registration offices including men and women aged 45–74 years. We used a multi-mode contact approach including an invitational letter, a maximum of two reminder letters and phone calls for the recruitment of study subjects. Nonparticipants were asked to fill in a short questionnaire. We calculated proportions of response, contact, cooperation and recruitment efficacy to characterize the participation. Overall, 4487 eligible subjects participated in our study. Although the elderly (65–75 years) had the highest contact proportion, the cooperation proportion was the lowest among both men and women. The recruitment efficacy proportion was highest among subjects aged 55–64 years. The identifiability of the phone number of study subjects was an important determinant of response. The recruitment efficacy proportion among subjects without an identified phone number was 11.4% as compared to 65.3% among subjects with an identified phone number. The majority of subjects agreed to participate after one invitational letter only (52.6%). A second reminding letter contributed only very few participants to the study. Nonparticipants were more often current smokers than participants and less often belonged to the highest social class. Living in a regular relationship with a partner was more often reported among participants than nonparticipants.


Cohort studies Epidemiologic methods Germany Selection bias 



electron beam computed tomography


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Stang
    • 1
  • S. Moebus
    • 2
  • N. Dragano
    • 3
  • E. M. Beck
    • 2
  • S. Möhlenkamp
    • 4
  • A. Schmermund
    • 4
  • J. Siegrist
    • 3
  • R. Erbel
    • 4
  • K. H. Jöckel
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biometry and Informatics, Medical FacultyMartin-Luther-University of Halle-WittenbergGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University HospitalUniversity of Duisburg-EssenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Medical SociologyUniversity of DuesseldorfGermany
  4. 4.West German Heart Center, University HospitalUniversity of Duisburg-EssenGermany

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