Correlates of obtaining informed consent to data linkage: respondent, interview, and interviewer characteristics

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

August 1, 2012


In the United Kingdom, in order to link individual-level administrative records to survey responses, respondents need to give their consent. Using an unprecedented set of respondent, interview, and interviewer characteristics derived from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) matched with an interviewer survey, this research investigates which characteristics influence consent to adding health and social security records to the survey responses. We find that consent is related to respondents’ attitudes to privacy, community mindedness and data linkage salience as well as to some interview features such as the “household contagion effect” and the survey “fidelity.” Interviewer characteristics, including their personality, attitudes to persuading respondents, and job experience, are not associated with consent. Interviewers’ survey experience in the current wave and their task-specific experience, however, do influence consent. Implications of the findings are discussed and areas for future research are identified.

Published in

Sociological Methods and Research

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 41 , p.414 -439






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