Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Epidemiol. 2003 Feb;13(2):105-10.

Survey non-response in the Netherlands: effects on prevalence estimates and associations.

Author information

National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.



Differences in respondent characteristics may lead to bias in prevalence estimates and bias in associations. Both forms of non-response bias are investigated in a study on psychosocial factors and cancer risk, which is a sub-study of a large-scale monitoring survey in the Netherlands.


Respondents of a cross-sectional monitoring project (MORGEN; N = 22,769) were also asked to participate in a prospective study on psychosocial factors and cancer risk (HLEQ; N = 12,097). To investigate diverse aspects of non-response in the HLEQ on prevalence estimates and associations are studied, based on information gathered in the MORGEN-project.


A response percentage of 45% was obtained in the MORGEN-project. Response rates were found to be lower among men and younger people. The HLEQ showed a response percentage of 56%, and respondents reported higher socioeconomic status, better subjective health and healthier lifestyle behaviors than non-respondents. However, associations between smoking status and either socioeconomic status or subjective health based on respondents only were not statistically different from those based on the entire MORGEN-population.


Non-response leads to bias in prevalence estimates of current smoking, current alcohol intake, and low physical activity or poor subjective health. However, non-response did not cause bias in the examined associations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center