Original Research: Characteristics of Nonrespondents to Questions on Sexual Orientation and Income in a HMO Survey
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Objective: The objective of this analysis was to explore variation in item nonresponse to two potentially sensitive questions, sexual orientation and income, among respondents to a large mailed HMO health survey. Method: Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted with nonresponse to the items on sexual orientation and income as outcome variables. Predictor variables included gender, age, race/ethnicity, and level of formal education. Results: Overall item nonresponse was 6.0% for the question on sexual orientation and 7.5% for the question on income. Women, older individuals, and people with less formal education were less likely to respond to both questions. Whereas there was no variation in nonresponse to the income question by race, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians were much more likely than Non-Hispanic Whites to be nonrespondents to the sexual orientation question (odds ratio 1.9, 2.2, and 7.2, respectively). Discussion: This study indicates that although there was relatively low item nonresponse to the question on sexual orientation on a large health survey, special consideration must be given to studies that target older individuals, people of color, and people without a college education.
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