From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

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The consequences of non-participation in health surveys have been examined by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow in collaboration with Denmark’s National Institute of Public Health, the University of Southern Denmark and the Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark in Glostrup.

What is different about health survey non-respondents? Distinct consequences of alcohol, drugs and smoking

posted on: Jul 7, 2015

The consequences of non-participation in health surveys have been examined by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the Denmark’s National Institute of Public Health, the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen and the Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark in Glostrup.

In an era of declining levels of participation in health surveys, the reliability of information on health and health-related risk factors is uncertain. We compared alcohol-, drug- and smoking related illness and death over 12 years (register-based information) among survey respondents and non-respondents in the Danish Health and Morbidity surveys in 2000 and 2005, with a total sample of 39,540 Danish adults. We found that non-respondents have an increased risk of alcohol-, drug-, and smoking-related mortality and morbidity compared with respondents, with differences in the magnitude of around 15% to 200%. Considering different types of non-respondents, uncontactable and ill/disabled non-respondents generally had a higher risk of alcohol-, drug- and smoking related mortality and morbidity compared with refusal non-respondents. These findings indicate less favourable health behaviours among non-respondents, especially the hard-to-reach groups.

The full article is available here.

The response to the accompanying commentary is available here.