•  
  •  
 

Keywords

Women, Incentives, Response Rates, Self-Administered Questionnaire, Rural Women, Demographic Characteristics, Rural Survey

Abstract

Objectives: The National Children’s Study (NCS) is a longitudinal observational study that will examine the effects of genetics and environment on the health and development of children in the United States. The NCS is in a Vanguard, or pilot phase, so it is important to determine the feasibility, acceptability and cost of different data collection methods. The purpose of this study was to determine whether demographic characteristics differed in self-administered questionnaire (SAQ) completion rates, and to examine response rates when a $2 incentive was included with the mailed questionnaire. Methods: Subjects for the study (~500) were being followed by a local call center and were mailed SAQs. Women who did not complete their last telephone event were eligible. Women were randomized to receive a $2 bill incentive with their SAQ (approximately 250 women in each group). Results: Approximately 450 women comprised the final sample. In the incentive group, 35% of SAQs were returned, which was significantly higher than the 27% returned in the non-incentive group (p<0.001). No significant differences in completion rates based on demographic characteristics were seen, except in divorced women. The final cost per completed SAQ was $12.51 in the incentive group compared to $7.57 for the non-incentive group. Conclusions: Adding a $2 bill as an incentive significantly increased response rates of hard-to-reach rural women completing mailed questionnaires about pregnancy information. Future research should focus on different incentive amounts and types and how they influence response rates.

Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

References

1. Hirschfeld, S., et al., National Children's Study: update in 2010. Mt Sinai J Med, 2011. 78(1): p. 119-25.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/msj.20227
PMid:21259268 PMCid:3247064

2. Hawley, K.M., J.R. Cook, and A. Jensen-Doss, Do noncontingent incentives increase survey response rates among mental health providers? A randomized trial comparison. Adm Policy Ment Health, 2009. 36(5): p. 343-8.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10488-009-0225-z
PMid:19421851 PMCid:2715443

3. Fox, R.J., M.R. Crask, and J. Kim, Mail survey response rate. Public Opinion Quarterly, 1988. 52(4): p. 467-491.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/269125

4. Rimm, E.B., et al., Effectiveness of various mailing strategies among nonrespondents in a prospective cohort study. Am J Epidemiol, 1990. 131(6): p. 1068-71.
PMid:2343859

5. Linsky, A.S., Stimulating responses to mailed questionnaires: a review. Public Opinion Quarterly, 1975. 39(1): p. 82-101.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/268201

6. Urban, N., G.L. Anderson, and A. Tseng, Effects on response rates and costs of stamps vs business reply in a mail survey of physicians. J Clin Epidemiol, 1993. 46(5): p. 455-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0895-4356(93)90022-S

7. Brealey, S.D., et al., Improving response rates using a monetary incentive for patient completion of questionnaires: an observational study. BMC Med Res Methodol, 2007. 7: p. 12.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-7-12
PMid:17326837 PMCid:1810307

8. Halpern, S.D., et al., Lottery-based versus fixed incentives to increase clinicians' response to surveys.Health Serv Res, 2011. 46(5): p. 1663-74.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01264.x
PMid:21492159

9. James, K.M., et al., Getting physicians to respond: the impact of incentive type and timing on physician survey response rates. Health Serv Res, 2011. 46(1 Pt 1): p. 232-42.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2010.01181.x
PMid:20880042 PMCid:3034272

10. Hawley, K.M., J.R. Cook, and A. Jensen-Doss, Do noncontingent incentives increase survey response rates among mental health providers? A randomized trial comparison. Adm Policy Ment Health, 2009. 36(5): p. 343-8.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10488-009-0225-z
PMid:19421851 PMCid:2715443

11. Kanaan, R.A., S.C. Wessely, and D. Armstrong, Differential effects of pre and post-payment on neurologists' response rates to a postal survey. BMC Neurol, 2010. 10: p. 100.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2377-10-100
PMid:20973984 PMCid:2984383

12. Szelenyi, K., A.N. Bryant, and J.A. Lindholm, What Money Can Buy: Examining the Effects of Prepaid Monetary Incentives on Survey Response Rates among College Students. Educational Research and Evaluation, 2005. 11(4): p. 385-404.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803610500110174

13. Liu, S.T. and C. Geidenberger, Comparing incentives to increase response rates among African Americans in the Ohio pregnancy risk assessment monitoring system. Matern Child Health J, 2011. 15(4): p. 527-33.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10995-010-0609-4
PMid:20428935

14. Whiteman, M.K., et al., A randomized trial of incentives to improve response rates to a mailed women's health questionnaire. J Womens Health (Larchmt), 2003. 12(8): p. 821-8.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/154099903322447783
PMid:14588132

Share

COinS