Reasons for nonresponse in a web-based survey of alcohol involvement among first-year college students

James A. Cranford, Sean Esteban McCabe, Carol J. Boyd, Janie Slayden, Mark B. Reed, Julie M. Ketchie, James E. Lange, Marcia S. Scott

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35 Scopus citations


This study conducted a follow-up telephone survey of a probability sample of college students who did not respond to a Web survey to determine correlates of and reasons for nonresponse. A stratified random sample of 2502 full-time first-year undergraduate students was invited to participate in a Web-based survey. A random sample of 221 students who did not respond to the original Web survey completed an abbreviated version of the original survey by telephone. Nonresponse did not vary by gender, but nonresponse was higher among Blacks and Hispanics compared to Whites, and Blacks compared to Asians. Nonresponders reported lower frequency of past 28 days drinking, lower levels of past-year and past 28-days heavy episodic drinking, and more time spent preparing for classes than responders. The most common reasons for nonresponse were "too busy" (45.7%), "not interested" (18.1%), and "forgot to complete survey" (18.1%). Reasons for nonresponse to Web surveys among college students are similar to reasons for nonresponse to mail and telephone surveys, and some nonresponse reasons vary as a function of alcohol involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-210
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • College students
  • Heavy episodic drinking
  • Reasons for nonresponse
  • Web surveys


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