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Acta Paediatr. 2003;92(1):91-6.

Influences on participation rate in a national Norwegian child development screening questionnaire study.

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Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo, and Regional Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Regions East/South, Oslo, Norway.



To describe the influence of demographic variables on participation rate in a child development screening questionnaire study, and to discuss the implications for data analysis and for the design of future similar studies.


Appropriate Ages and Stages Questionnaires were mailed to 2392 mothers of children aged 4-60 mo. The bivariate and multivariate influence of demographic variables on responding was investigated.


The response rate decreased roughly linearly with the age of the child (ranging from 76% at 8 mo to 32% at 60 mo). Mother's educational level, civil status and (marginally) child's gender also contributed independently to the prediction of response.


Participation rate may be interpreted in terms of interest/saliency and time demands, if a mother's interest in her baby's normative development is assumed to be great, though decreasing as the child grows. Weighting for demographic variables seems to be a viable procedure in the present project; future studies may consider measures to increase the immediacy of questionnaire completion for mothers of children aged 3 y and older.

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