Barr, Margo; Dillon, Anthony; Kassis, Mazen; and Steel, David G., Can telephone surveys for the whole population provide reliable information on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians?, Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology, University of Wollongong, Working Paper 9-12, 2012, 14.
Objective: To compare prevalence estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians collected through a telephone survey for the general population with those collected through a face-to-face survey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Design, Setting and Participants: Information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians from the NSW Population Health Survey 2002-2005 and the NSW component of the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey— including sample frame, study design, participant selection, final sample, collection period, collection method, collection agency, weighting procedure, and questionnaires—were obtained and compared. Questions that were the same, or could provide the same information, were selected. Prevalence estimates and standard errors were calculated and compared. Results: The sampling methods and data collection differed between the two surveys, although both had known probabilities of selection, and both were weighted to the corresponding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population for NSW as at 31 December 2004. The differences between prevalence estimates ranged from less than 1% for current asthma; 1-2% for recommended vegetable consumption, influenza vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination, positive self-rated health, diabetes or high blood glucose, and overweight or obesity, just over 3% for recommended fruit consumption; and around 8% for non-drinkers and current smoking. Only non-drinkers (27.1% versus 19.4%; p=0.01) and current smoking (44.6% versus 52.9%; p=0.02) were statistically significantly different. Conclusion: Prevalence estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, collected through telephone health surveys for the general population, appear to be consistent with those collected through face-to-face surveys specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.