Characteristics of Postpartum Japanese Mothers Who Were Nonrespondents to the Japan Environment and Children’s Study

Background: This study aimed to examine the factors behind survey non-response in mothers who had agreed to participate in a Japanese nationwide birth cohort study- The Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS)- despite follow-ups. In this longitudinal cohort study, new mothers were asked to answer questionnaires one month after childbirth. Of 104,102 pregnant women who consented to participate, 96,860 were included in the study after excluding those with miscarriages, stillbirths or multiple births.
Method: Data from the self-administered questionnaires included participants’ socioeconomic status, medical history, details regarding pregnancy and delivery,
health status, and health-related behaviors. A JECS participation status for each participant’s partner determined whether the partner provided an informed consent form and helped answer the survey. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors that could have potentially affected response/non-response
to the survey.
Results: Survey non-response was related to the mother’s age, socioeconomic status, health-related behavior, history of asthma, and psychological distress during pregnancy, as well as the child’s health at birth. Additionally, active participation of partners in the JECS reduced the likelihood of non-response, and lack of partner participation significantly increased the likelihood of non-response.
Conclusion: The rate of survey response may be related to the level of the participants’ interest and understanding of the study. In the future, approaches to the participant and others responsible for the care of the child should be considered to prevent non-response from ongoing surveys.

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Author: Mika Kigawa

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