Adjustment for survey non-participation using record-linkage and multiple imputation: a validity assessment exercise using the Health 2000 survey

Megan McMinn, Pekka Martikainen, Tommi Härkänen, Hanna Tolonen, Joonas Pitkanen, Alastair Leyland, Linsay Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

AIMS
It is becoming increasingly possible to obtain additional information about health survey participants, though not usually non-participants, via record-linkage. We aimed to assess the validity of an assumption underpinning a method developed to mitigate non-participation bias. We use a survey in Finland where it is possible to link both participants and non-participants to administrative registers. Survey-derived alcohol consumption is used as the exemplar outcome.
METHODS
Data on participants (85.5%) and true non-participants of the Finnish Health 2000 survey (invited survey sample n=7,167 aged 30-79 years), and a contemporaneous register-based population sample (n=496,079) were individually linked to alcohol-related hospitalisation and death records. Applying the methodology to create synthetic observations on non-participants, we created ‘inferred samples’ (participants and inferred non-participants). Relative differences (RDs) between the inferred sample and the invited survey sample were estimated overall and by education. 5% limits were used to define acceptable RDs.
RESULTS
Average weekly consumption estimates for men were 129g and 131g of alcohol in inferred and invited survey samples respectively (RD -1.6%; 95%CI -2.2, -0.04%) and 35g for women in both samples (-1.1%; -2.4, -0.8%). Estimates for men with secondary levels of education had the greatest RD (-2.4%; -3.7, -1.1%).
CONCLUSIONS
The sufficiently small RDs between inferred and invited survey samples support the assumption validity and use of our methodology for adjusting for non-participation. However, the presence of some significant differences means caution is required.
KEYWORDS
Health 2000; Finland; non-participation; alcohol consumption; multiple imputation; validation; record linkage
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021

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