On the impact of nonresponse in logistic regression: Application to the 45 and Up study

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Journal Article
BMC Medical Research Methodology, 2017, 17 (1)
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© 2017 The Author(s). Background: In longitudinal studies, nonresponse to follow-up surveys poses a major threat to validity, interpretability and generalisation of results. The problem of nonresponse is further complicated by the possibility that nonresponse may depend on the outcome of interest. We identified sociodemographic, general health and wellbeing characteristics associated with nonresponse to the follow-up questionnaire and assessed the extent and effect of nonresponse on statistical inference in a large-scale population cohort study. Methods: We obtained the data from the baseline and first wave of the follow-up survey of the 45 and Up Study. Of those who were invited to participate in the follow-up survey, 65.2% responded. Logistic regression model was used to identify baseline characteristics associated with follow-up response. A Bayesian selection model approach with sensitivity analysis was implemented to model nonignorable nonresponse. Results: Characteristics associated with a higher likelihood of responding to the follow-up survey include female gender, age categories 55-74, high educational qualification, married/de facto, worked part or partially or fully retired and higher household income. Parameter estimates and conclusions are generally consistent across different assumptions on the missing data mechanism. However, we observed some sensitivity for variables that are strong predictors for both the outcome and nonresponse. Conclusions: Results indicated in the context of the binary outcome under study, nonresponse did not result in substantial bias and did not alter the interpretation of results in general. Conclusions were still largely robust under nonignorable missing data mechanism. Use of a Bayesian selection model is recommended as a useful strategy for assessing potential sensitivity of results to missing data.
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