Assessing nonresponse bias at follow-up in a large prospective cohort of relatively young and mobile military service members

Alyson J. Littman, Edward J. Boyko, Isabel G. Jacobson, Jaime Horton, Gary D. Gackstetter, Besa Smith, Tomoko Hooper, Timothy S. Wells, Paul J. Amoroso, Tyler C. Smith

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91 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Nonresponse bias in a longitudinal study could affect the magnitude and direction of measures of association. We identified sociodemographic, behavioral, military, and health-related predictors of response to the first follow-up questionnaire in a large military cohort and assessed the extent to which nonresponse biased measures of association. Methods. Data are from the baseline and first follow-up survey of the Millennium Cohort Study. Seventy-six thousand, seven hundred and seventy-five eligible individuals completed the baseline survey and were presumed alive at the time of follow-up; of these, 54,960 (71.6%) completed the first follow-up survey. Logistic regression models were used to calculate inverse probability weights using propensity scores. Results. Characteristics associated with a greater probability of response included female gender, older age, higher education level, officer rank, active-duty status, and a self-reported history of military exposures. Ever smokers, those with a history of chronic alcohol consumption or a major depressive disorder, and those separated from the military at follow-up had a lower probability of response. Nonresponse to the follow-up questionnaire did not result in appreciable bias; bias was greatest in subgroups with small numbers. Conclusions. These findings suggest that prospective analyses from this cohort are not substantially biased by non-response at the first follow-up assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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