The impact of the method of consent on response rates in the ISAAC time trends study

Philippa Ellwood*, M. I. Asher, A. W. Stewart, N. Aït-Khaled, H. R. Anderson, R. Beasley, B. Björkstén, B. Brunekreef, J. Crane, C. Flohr, S. Foliaki, F. Forastiere, L. García-Marcos, U. Keil, C. K.W. Lai, J. Mallol, E. A. Mitchell, S. Montefort, J. Odhiambo, N. PearceC. F. Robertson, D. Strachan, E. von Mutius, S. K. Weiland, G. Weinmayr, H. Williams, G. Wong, T. O. Clayton, B. Benhabylès, F. O. Esamai, L. Ng'ang'a, Z. Bouayad, B. O. Onadeko, H. J. Zar, M. Jerray, Y. Z. Chen, N. S. Zhong, Y. L. Lau, C. B. Kartasasmita, H. Odajima, K. H. Teh, J. de Bruyne, B. S. Quah, F. Cua-Lim, D. Y.T. Goh, H. B. Lee, J. L. Huang, P. Vichyanond, M. Trakultivakom, M. R. Masjedi, J. A. al-Momen, N. Mahmood, O. Al-Rawas, V. A. Khatav, L. Kumar, G. Setty, K. C. Jain, T. U. Sukumaran, M. K. Joshi, A. V. Pherwani, S. K. Sharma, N. M. Hanumante, I. M.E. Guimaraes, C. E. Baena-Cagnani, N. Rosário, G. B. Fischer, M. de Britto, L. de Freitas Souza, D. Solé, L. Amarales, P. Aguilar, M. A. Calvo, M. E. Soto-Quirós, I. Romieu, G. Cukier, J. A. Guggiari-Chase, P. Chiarella, D. Holgado, M. E. Howitt, M. Sears, D. Rennie, K. Yeatts, G. J. Redding, A. Priftanji, M. A. Riikjärv, J. Pekkanen, M. Gotua, V. Svabe, J. Kudzyte, G. Lis, A. Breborowicz, D. Deleanu, E. G. Kondiourina, H. Vogt, V. Ognev, G. Marks, C. Moyes, P. Pattemore, R. Mackay, G. Haidinger, J. Weyler, P. Standring, R. Goulding, A. Steriu, E. Bonci, C. Galassi, M. G. Petronio, E. Chellini, L. Bisanti, P. Sestini, G. Ciccone, S. Piffer, R. Camâra, J. E. Rosado Pinto, C. Nunes, J. M.Lopes dos Santos, L. Clancy, R. M. Busquets, C. González Díaz, A. Arnedo-Pena, G. Garcia Hernández, F. Guillén-Grima, M. M. Morales-Suarez-Varela, A. Blanco Quirós, North Thames, J. B. Austin, M. H. Shamssain, D. Strachan, M. Burr, J. Shah, K. Baratawidjaja, S. Nishima, M. Baeza-Bacab, P. Manning, R. M. Khaitov, B. Lee, L. Nilsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Centres in Phases I and III of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) programme used the method of consent (passive or active) required by local ethics committees. METHODS: Retrospectively, relationships between achieved response rates and method of consent for 13-14 and 6-7-year-olds (adolescents and children, respectively), were examined between phases and between English and non-English language centres. RESULTS: Information was obtained for 113 of 115 centres for adolescents and 72/72 centres for children. Both age groups: most centres using passive consent achieved high response rates (>80% adolescents and >70% children). English language centres using active consent showed a larger decrease in response rate. Adolescents: seven centres changed from passive consent in Phase I to active consent in Phase III (median decrease of 13%), with five centres showing lower response rates (as low as 34%). Children: no centre changed consent method between phases. Centres using active consent had lower median response rates (lowest response rate 45%). CONCLUSION: The requirement for active consent for population school-based questionnaire studies can impact negatively on response rates, particularly English language centres, thus adversely affecting the validity of the data. Ethics committees need to consider this issue carefully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Consent
  • Epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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