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J Epidemiol Community Health. 1986 June; 40(2): 174–177.
PMCID: PMC1052515

Factors influencing participation in health surveys. Results from prospective population study 'Men born in 1914' in Malmö, Sweden.


Base line data together with data in public registers and a structured phone interview of 94 of the 121 non-attenders was used for an assessment of factors influencing participation in the prospective population study 'Men born in 1914' in Malmö, Sweden. The overall attendance rate was 80.5% but varied among areas in the city from 27% to 100%. The lower participation rate among single men remained, when correcting for social class, significant only for single men in social class III. Men who did not feel well and/or had been admitted to hospital during the last 12 months had a lower participation rate. A negative attitude towards health surveys in general was the most common reason for non-participation. The phone interview turned out to be a feasible method to reach non-attenders to assess whether the sample was representative of the population and to learn more about reasons for non-participation.

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Selected References

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  • Bergstrand R, Vedin A, Wilhelmsson C, Wilhelmsen L. Bias due to non-participation and heterogenous sub-groups in population surveys. J Chronic Dis. 1983;36(10):725–728. [PubMed]
  • Wilhelmsen L, Ljungberg S, Wedel H, Werkö L. A comparison between participants and non-participants in a primary preventive trial. J Chronic Dis. 1976 May;29(5):331–339. [PubMed]
  • Tibblin G. A population study of 50-year-old men. An analysis of the non-participation group. Acta Med Scand. 1965 Oct;178(4):453–459. [PubMed]
  • Rinder L, Roupe S, Steen B, Svanborg A. Seventy-year-old people in Gothenburg. A population study in an industrialized Swedish city. Acta Med Scand. 1975 Nov;198(5):397–407. [PubMed]

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