Respondent Consent to Use Administrative Data
Fulton, Jenna Anne
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Surveys increasingly request respondents' consent to link survey responses with administrative records. Such linked data can enhance the utility of both the survey and administrative data, yet in most cases, this linkage is contingent upon respondents' consent. With evidence of declining consent rates, there is a growing need to understand factors associated with consent to record linkage. This dissertation presents the results of three research studies that investigate factors associated with consenting. In the first study, we draw upon surveys conducted in the U.S. with consent requests to describe characteristics of surveys containing such requests, examine trends in consent rates over time, and evaluate the effects of several characteristics of the survey and consent request on consent rates. The results of this study suggest that consent rates are declining over time, and that some characteristics of the survey and consent request are associated with variations in consent rates, including survey mode, administrative record topic, personal identifier requested, and whether the consent request takes an explicit or opt-out approach. In the second study, we administered a telephone survey to examine the effect of administrative record topic on consent rates using experimental methods, and through non-experimental methods, investigated the influence of respondents' privacy, confidentiality, and trust attitudes and consent request salience on consent rates. The results of this study indicate that respondents' confidentiality attitudes are related to their consent decision; the other factors examined appear to have less of an impact on consent rates in this survey. The final study used data from the 2009 National Immunization Survey (NIS) to assess the effects of interviewers and interviewer characteristics on respondents' willingness to consent to vaccination provider contact. The results of this study suggest that interviewers vary in their ability to obtain respondents' consent, and that some interviewer characteristics are related to consent rates, including gender and amount of previous experience on the NIS.