Exploring the correlates of parental consent for children's participation in surveys

Jeanette M. Hussemann, Jeylan T. Mortimer, Lei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The validity of survey research has been challenged by an alarming increase in nonresponse rates over the past four decades. In reaction to the public's increasing reluctance to participate in surveys, scholars have focused on the reasons for, and consequences of, nonresponse. However, children's participation in research is a neglected area of study. We address this gap in the literature by examining parental consent to allow their children to participate in the Youth Development Study (YDS), an ongoing, multigenerational, longitudinal study. Of 411 parents contacted, 277 (67 percent) provided active consent. By estimating a population average model with GEE, we find evidence that the context of recruitment - whether the parent is being approached for the first time, how the parent responded to prior child recruitment efforts, and the provision of a monetary incentive - influences the consent decision. The parent's relationship to the child (biological vs. stepparent or other), participation in family decision-making, and history of participation in YDS surveys are also associated with consent. This research contributes to our understanding of parental consent and indicates the need for further theoretical and empirical work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-665
Number of pages24
JournalPublic Opinion Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


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