Race- and ethnicity-specific characteristics of participants lost to follow-up in a telephone cohort

Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Jul 15;140(2):161-71. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a117226.


The purpose of this study was to describe race- and ethnicity-specific characteristics of subjects lost to follow-up. For a study of community-based health interventions, adult subjects from 11 US communities were initially recruited by random digit dialing and interviewed by telephone in 1988; 2 years later, they were recontacted, and the same survey was administered a second time. Associations with loss to follow-up were assessed in separate models for whites, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. After 2 years, 40.8% of the 5,851 participants were lost to follow-up; cohort attrition was highest among African Americans (51.3%) and lowest among whites (37.5%). Age, aspects of employment, education, marital status, and income were significant independent predictors of loss to follow-up for one or more of the four racial and ethnic groups. Characteristics of subjects lost to follow-up in this telephone cohort differed among various racial and ethnic groups. After adjustment for demographic, socioeconomic, and health status variables, the important behavioral predictors of loss to follow-up were current smoking for whites (p < 0.05), having a high fat diet for African Americans (p < 0.10), consuming one or more alcoholic drinks per day for Hispanic Americans (p < 0.10), and high levels of physical activity for Asian Americans (p < 0.05).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Dropouts*
  • Racial Groups*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Telephone