Barriers to survey participation among older adults in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: The importance of establishing trust
Accurate behavioral measures of older Americans are vital to the making of sound, evidence-based policy decisions. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 37% of the population will be aged 50 or older by 2030, up from about 28% in 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau 2004). A negative relationship between response rate and age has been identified in the survey methods and gerontological literature (Redpath and Elliot, 1988; Herzog and Rogers, 1988; Groves and Couper, 1988). Recent research on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) has shown that older persons sampled in the survey, particularly those age 50 or older, are less likely to complete the survey than younger persons (Murphy, Eyerman, and Kennet 2004). This article discusses potential barriers to participation among this population group and practices that could improve response rates with older respondents.