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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2010 Aug;14(8):1059-65.

The impact of the method of consent on response rates in the ISAAC time trends study.

Collaborators (147)

Aït-Khaled N, Anderson HR, Asher MI, Beasley R, Björkstén B, Brunekreef B, Crane J, Ellwood P, Flohr C, Foliaki S, Forastiere F, García-Marcos L, Keil U, Lai CK, Mallol J, Mitchell EA, Montefort S, Odhiambo J, Pearce N, Robertson CF, Stewart AW, Strachan D, von Mutius E, Weiland SK, Weinmayr G, Williams H, Wong G, Benhabylès B, Esamai FO, Ng'anga L, Bouayad Z, Onadeko BO, Zar HJ, Jerray M, Chen YZ, Zhong NS, Lau YL, Wong G, Kartasasmita CB, Odajima H, Teh KH, de Bruyne J, Quah BS, Cua-Lim F, Goh DY, Lee HB, Huang JL, Vichyanond P, Trakultivakom M, Masjedi MR, al-Momen JA, Montefort S, Mahmood N, Al-Rawas O, Khatav VA, Kumar L, Setty G, Jain KC, Sukumaran TU, Joshi MK, Pherwani AV, Sharma SK, Hanumante NM, Guimaraes IM, Baena-Cagnani CE, Rosário N, Fischer GB, de Britto M, de Freitas Souza L, Solé D, Amarales L, Aguilar P, Calvo MA, Soto-Quirós ME, Romieu I, Cukier G, Guggiari-Chase JA, Chiarella P, Holgado D, Howitt ME, Sears M, Rennie D, Yeatts K, Redding GJ, Priftanji A, Riikjärv MA, Pekkanen J, Gotua M, Svabe V, Kudzyte J, Lis G, Breborowicz A, Deleanu D, Kondiourina EG, Vogt H, Ognev V, Robertson CF, Marks G, Asher MI, Moyes C, Pattemore P, Mackay R, Pearce N, Haidinger G, Weyler J, Standring P, Goulding R, Keil U, Steriu A, Bonci E, Galassi C, Petronio MG, Chellini E, Bisanti L, Forastiere F, Sestini P, Ciccone G, Piffer S, Camâra R, Rosado Pinto JE, Nunes C, dos Santos JM, Busquets RM, González Díaz C, García-Marcos L, Arnedo-Pena A, Garcia Hernández G, Guillén-Grima F, Morales-Suarez-Varela MM, Blanco Quirós A, Anderson HR, Austin JB, Shamssain MH, Strachan D, Burr M, Anderson HR, Mallol J, Lai C, Anderson HR, Shah J, Baratawidjaja K, Nishima S, Baeza-Bacab M, Manning P, Khaitov RM, Lee B, Nilsson L.

Author information

Department of Paediatrics, Child and Youth Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



Centres in Phases I and III of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) programme used the method of consent (passive or active) required by local ethics committees.


Retrospectively, relationships between achieved response rates and method of consent for 13-14 and 6-7-year-olds (adolescents and children, respectively), were examined between phases and between English and non-English language centres.


Information was obtained for 113 of 115 centres for adolescents and 72/72 centres for children. Both age groups: most centres using passive consent achieved high response rates (>80% adolescents and >70% children). English language centres using active consent showed a larger decrease in response rate. Adolescents: seven centres changed from passive consent in Phase I to active consent in Phase III (median decrease of 13%), with five centres showing lower response rates (as low as 34%). Children: no centre changed consent method between phases. Centres using active consent had lower median response rates (lowest response rate 45%).


The requirement for active consent for population school-based questionnaire studies can impact negatively on response rates, particularly English language centres, thus adversely affecting the validity of the data. Ethics committees need to consider this issue carefully.

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