A population comparison of participants and nonparticipants in a health survey

Am J Public Health. 1999 Aug;89(8):1228-31. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.8.1228.


Objectives: This study examined the characteristics of Air Force recruits willing to take part in a health survey vs those unwilling to participate.

Methods: US Air Force recruits undergoing basic military training (n = 32,144) were surveyed regarding demographic and health variables.

Results: Respondents indicating an unwillingness to participate in a health survey reported less healthy lifestyles than those willing to participate. Prediction equations modeling the characteristics of those engaging in 4 risky behaviors were nearly identical regardless of whether those refusing to participate were included.

Conclusions: Results suggest that, despite some low estimates of health behaviors due to response bias, relationships between most risk factors are generally unaffected by those not responding to health surveys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Regression Analysis
  • Selection Bias*
  • United States / epidemiology