Doumas, D. M., Esp, S., & Hausheer, R. (2015). Parental consent procedures: Impact on response rates and nonresponse bias. Journal of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism, 3(2), pp. 1031-1 – 1031-4.

This study examined the impact of passive versus active parental consent procedures on response rates and nonresponse bias when recruiting 9th grade students for a school-based alcohol intervention. Results indicated a significant difference in response rates when using passive parental consent procedures (91.8%) compared to active parental consent procedures (30.4%). Additionally, students recruited with active parental consent procedures reported lower rates of alcohol use and lower levels of alcohol-related consequences than those recruited with passive parental consent procedures. There were no differences in demographic variables between the two groups. Findings indicate active parental consent procedures may result in an underrepresentation of students reporting alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences, compromising the generalizability of findings in school-based alcohol intervention research. We suggest researchers incorporate strategies shown to increase response rates when using active parental consent procedures to minimize nonresponse bias.

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