Recommendations for design and analysis of health examination surveys under selective non-participation
Karvanen, J., Härkänen, T., Reinikainen, J., & Tolonen, H. (2019). Recommendations for design and analysis of health examination surveys under selective non-participation. European Journal of Public Health, 29 (1), 8-12. doi:10.1093/eurpub/cky161
Published inEuropean Journal of Public Health
© The Authors, 2018.
Background The decreasing participation rates and selective non-participation peril the representativeness of health examination surveys (HESs). Methods Finnish HESs conducted in 1972–2012 are used to demonstrate that survey participation rates can be enhanced with well-planned recruitment procedures and auxiliary information about survey non-participants can be used to reduce selection bias. Results Experiments incorporated to pilot surveys and experience from previously conducted surveys lead to practical improvements. For example, SMS reminders were taken as a routine procedure to the Finnish HESs after testing their effect on a pilot study and finding them as a cost-effective way to increase participation rate especially among younger age groups. Auxiliary information about survey non-participants can be obtained from many sources: sampling frames, previous measurements in longitudinal setting, re-contacts and non-response questionnaires, and record linkage to administrative data sources. These data can be used in statistical modelling to adjust the population level estimates for the selection bias. Information on the characteristics of non-participants also helps to improve targeting the recruitment in the future. Conclusion All methods discussed and recommended are relatively easy to incorporate to any national HES in Europe except the record linkage of survey data from administrative data sources. This is not feasible in all European countries because of non-existence of registries, lack of an identifier needed for record linkage, or national data protection legislation which restricts the data use. ...