Effectiveness of various mailing strategies among nonrespondents in a prospective cohort study

Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Jun;131(6):1068-71. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115598.


Measures of association in prospective studies can be distorted by incomplete follow-up. Various mailing strategies were used to contact 12,233 cohort members of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who had not responded to three successive bulk-rate mailings. Response rates were highest, 79.5% overall, from participants who were sent a certified mailing in phase 1 (63.2%), followed by a repeat certified mailing to nonrespondents (44.3%). Although altering the physical appearance of the envelope and using other postal rates were tested, certified mail was the most effective approach for reaching study members who were nonrespondents to a mailed questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Data Collection / economics
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postal Service
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires