Feasibility of a mail-in, self-administered dried blood spot collection method in national, population-based alcohol surveys in the United States

Addiction. 2019 Jul;114(7):1303-1308. doi: 10.1111/add.14603. Epub 2019 Apr 29.


Background and aims: Including a low-intensity blood collection method in population-based alcohol studies would advance our ability to study biological mechanisms related to alcohol. However, the likelihood of participation in such a blood collection method remains understudied. This study's primary aims were to (1) estimate the return rate of mail-in, self-administered dried blood spot (saDBS) samples in national surveys and (2) test correlates of returning a sample.

Design: Re-contact of all eligible participants from two telephone, population-based alcohol surveys followed by χ2 tests and multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Setting: Non-institutionalized US population in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

Participants: Adults aged 18+ who reported drinking at least one alcoholic beverage in the past 12 months (assessed 2017-18). Contact was made with 680 eligible participants, and 257 consented.

Measurements: The return rate of saDBS samples was defined as the proportion of returned samples among those who were eligible and contacted. Key correlates examined were gender, age, race/ethnicity and education.

Findings: Among the 680 eligible people contacted, 179 (26.3%) returned a saDBS sample. Blacks [odds ratio (OR) = 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.35-0.95], Latinos (OR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.23-0.69) and those with a high school education or less (OR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.31-0.81).

Conclusions: The likelihood of participating in mail-in, self-administered dried blood spot (saDBS) sampling among drinkers in the US general population appears low, and blacks, Latinos and people with lower levels of education appear less likely to provide a saDBS sample compared with whites and people with higher levels of education.

Keywords: Blood collection; dried blood spots; national surveys; racial/ethnic minorities; research participation; response rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Blood Specimen Collection / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dried Blood Spot Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postal Service*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult