Understanding Disparities in Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions: Research Approaches and Datasets. 5.1.3 Response Rate Bias


The phenomenon known as response rate bias, wherein public health surveys have low response rates in non-white populations and non-English speakers leads to poor representation of minority demographic groups. The reasons for low response rates, include, “disproportionate mistrust of government and the research community, cultural and language barriers, lower rates of literacy and health literacy, high mobility patterns, reluctance to reveal personal information, and data-collection procedures” (Link et al., 2006). Even when a minority population participates in a research survey, certain patient populations, such as Asian Americans, are numerically small and very diverse, and can be easily missed by non-sensitive sampling strategies (Sandefur 2004). Data obtained via sampling strategies that fail to achieve widespread demographic and geographic representation should be interpreted with caution. Research studies must be culturally and linguistically accessible for minority populations, and additional steps must be taken to guarantee privacy to minority populations who do participate in research studies.

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