Does age affect patients’ preferences when completing questionnaires?

Mary Slevin, Geraldine Horigan, Mark Davies, Marian Carey, Vivien Coates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To explore patients’ preferences when completing a questionnaire and compare preferences between younger and older patients to inform future research methodology. This research was conducted as part of a larger survey to investigate why those with diabetes declined structured diabetes education (SDE).Methods: Similar questionnaires relating to declining SDE for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes were completed either electronically, via telephone, on paper and posted or via personal visit, by 177 patients in Northern Ireland. A Chi-square test for independence was carried out to determine the data collection preferences of both groups.Results: A significant association was found between age and questionnaire preference. Amongst patients with Type 1 diabetes, aged 13-23 years, 56.1% preferred to fill out their questionnaire electronically, followed by a preference for telephone questionnaires (35.1%). Postal completion of questionnaires (8.8%) was a less popular option. Those with Type 2 diabetes, aged 28-83 years preferred telephone completion (45.8%), followed closely by a preference for postal completion (43.3%), with electronic completion (10.8%) being a less popular option in this group. The numbers electing for a personal visit were too small to include in the analysis.Conclusion: Older adults had a preference for having their data collected by telephone, followed by postal methods while younger adults and adolescents preferred electronic data collection methods. The data collection phase of any survey is vital. This study has shown that taking age of the population into account when designing a survey may lead to improved response rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-143
JournalDiabetic medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Mar 2015


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