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Assessing the Feasibility and Sample Quality of a National Random-digit Dialing Cellular Phone Survey of Young Adults

16 Dec 2013

The majority of adults aged 18–34 years have only cellular phones, making random-digit dialing of landline telephones an obsolete methodology for surveillance of this population. However, 95% of this group has cellular phones. This article reports on the 2011 National Young Adult Health Survey (NYAHS), a pilot study conducted in the 50 US states and Washington, DC, that used random-digit dialing of cellular phones and benchmarked this methodology against that of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Comparisons of the demographic distributions of subjects in the NYAHS and BRFSS (aged 18–34 years) with US Census data revealed adequate reach for all demographic subgroups. After adjustment for design factors, the mean absolute deviations across demographic groups were 3 percentage points for the NYAHS and 2.8 percentage points for the BRFSS, nationally, and were comparable for each census region. Two-sided z tests comparing cigarette smoking prevalence revealed no significant differences between NYAHS and BRFSS participants overall or by subgroups. The design effects of the sampling weight were 2.09 for the NYAHS and 3.26 for the BRFSS. Response rates for the NYAHS and BRFSS cellular phone sampling frames were comparable. Our assessment of the NYAHS methodology found that random-digit dialing of cellular phones is a feasible methodology for surveillance of young adults.

16 December 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in American Journal of Epidemiology