The patterns of attrition among elderly participants in health research studies vary significantly by race and ethnicity. As population diversity increases, researchers should consider these differences when assembling survey panels in order to retain minority participants and avoid biased estimates.
Although there is extensive literature on minority inclusion in health research, this is the first study to compare “patterns of attrition” between elderly minority groups participating in health studies. More specifically, using data from the “most current, comprehensive, longitudinal study of aging”—the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 1992-2008—researchers examined whether foreign birth, health insurance and health status are associated with attrition of elderly participants, and whether these patterns vary across racial/ethnic groups.
This study was limited by the relatively small HRS sampling of Latinos but suggests researchers should pay attention to differences in attrition across aging minority populations when assembling study panels.