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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Journal of Medical Internet Research >
Volume 9 (2007) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/9832


Title: Following Up Nonrespondents to an Online Weight Management Intervention: Randomized Trial Comparing Mail versus Telephone
Authors: Couper, Mick P
Peytchev, Andy
Strecher, Victor J
Rothert, Kendra
Anderson, Julia
Keywords: Original Paper
Nonresponse
attrition
Internet
weight management
randomized controlled trial
Issue Date: 13-Jun-2007
Publisher: Gunther Eysenbach; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada
Citation: Mick P Couper, Andy Peytchev, Victor J Strecher, Kendra Rothert, Julia Anderson. Following Up Nonrespondents to an Online Weight Management Intervention: Randomized Trial Comparing Mail versus Telephone. J Med Internet Res 2007;9(2):e16 <URL: http://www.jmir.org/2007/2/e16/>
Abstract: [This item is a preserved copy and is not necessarily the most recent version. To view the current item, visit http://www.jmir.org/2007/2/e16/ ] Background: Attrition, or dropout, is a problem faced by many online health interventions, potentially threatening the inferential value of online randomized controlled trials. Objective: In the context of a randomized controlled trial of an online weight management intervention, where 85% of the baseline participants were lost to follow-up at the 12-month measurement, the objective was to examine the effect of nonresponse on key outcomes and explore ways to reduce attrition in follow-up surveys. Methods: A sample of 700 nonrespondents to the 12-month online follow-up survey was randomly assigned to a mail or telephone nonresponse follow-up survey. We examined response rates in the two groups, costs of follow-up, reasons for nonresponse, and mode effects. We ran several logistic regression models, predicting response or nonresponse to the 12-month online survey as well as predicting response or nonresponse to the follow-up survey. Results: We analyzed 210 follow-up respondents in the mail and 170 in the telephone group. Response rates of 59% and 55% were obtained for the telephone and mail nonresponse follow-up surveys, respectively. A total of 197 respondents (51.8%) gave reasons related to technical issues or email as a means of communication, with older people more likely to give technical reasons for noncompletion; 144 (37.9%) gave reasons related to the intervention or the survey itself. Mail follow-up was substantially cheaper: We estimate that the telephone survey cost about US $34 per sampled case, compared to US $15 for the mail survey. The telephone responses were subject to possible social desirability effects, with the telephone respondents reporting significantly greater weight loss than the mail respondents. The respondents to the nonresponse follow-up did not differ significantly from the 12-month online respondents on key outcome variables. Conclusions: Mail is an effective way to reduce attrition to online surveys, while telephone follow-up might lead to overestimating the weight loss for both the treatment and control groups. Nonresponse bias does not appear to be a significant factor in the conclusions drawn from the randomized controlled trial.
Description: Reviewer: Beebe, Timothy
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.9.2.e16
http://hdl.handle.net/1807/9832
ISSN: 1438-8871
Rights: © Mick P Couper, Andy Peytchev, Victor J Strecher, Kendra Rothert, Julia Anderson. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org, 13.06.2007). Except where otherwise noted, articles published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, including full bibliographic details and the URL (see "please cite as" above), and this statement is included.
Appears in Collections:Volume 9 (2007)

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