Characteristics that predict locating and interviewing mothers identified by a state birth defects registry and vital records.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


State vital records are often used to select population-based controls in record-linkage studies of birth defects. However, locating and contacting individuals based on these data sources to collect additional data can be a challenge.


A large case-control study of air quality and birth defects was conducted in 7 Texas counties in which cases were selected from the Texas Birth Defects Registry and controls from state vital records. In 2004, data from these sources were used to trace mothers of cases and controls who delivered babies in the year 2000 (n=2477) for participation in a computer-assisted telephone interview. A number of factors that predicted whether an individual would be located and interviewed were identified.


Between March and August 2004, 38% of the mothers were located, and 38% of the located mothers were interviewed. Case mothers were more likely than control mothers to be located (44 vs. 30%) and, if located, to be interviewed (43 vs. 31%). We compared the characteristics of mothers who were not located (case n=760; control n=777), mothers who were located but not interviewed (case n=344; control n=236), and mothers who were interviewed (case n=256; control n=104). Among both cases and controls, older mothers (>or=30 years) were more likely than younger mothers to be located, and non-Hispanic black mothers were least likely to be located and interviewed.


Despite the utility of vital records as a source of population-based controls in record-linkage analyses, the poor response rate discourages the use of these data sources to contact individuals for a follow-up study 4 years after delivery.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gilboa, SM; Mendola, P; Olshan, AF; Savitz, DA; Herring, AH; Loomis, D; Langlois, PH; Keating, K

Published Date

  • January 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 60 - 65

PubMed ID

  • 16397888

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16397888

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1542-0760

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1542-0752

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/bdra.20221


  • eng