Face-to-face household interviews versus telephone interviews for health surveys

R.J. Donovan, D'Arcy Holman, Billie Corti, G. Jalleh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to compare response distributions in health surveys for two interview modes: face-to-face household interviews and telephone interviews. There were two samples of the Perth metropolitan general population aged 16 to 69 years: a face-to-face household sample (n = 1000) and a telephone sample (n = 222), The samples were generated by probability-based methods commonly used by commercial market research organisations. The surveys occurred in August-September 1992 as part of a larger statewide survey component of a three-year evaluation of the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation. Respondents were drawn from a two-stage cluster sample based on private dwellings for personal interviews, and from randomly selected listed and unlisted private numbers for telephone interviews, Although the samples did not differ significantly on a number of variables, the telephone sample was significantly higher in residential social status; there was significantly lower reporting of smoking and lower unsafe alcohol consumption in the telephone sample; significantly higher proportions of the telephone sample were in Prochaska's 'action' stage of change for several health hehaviours; and there was significantly greater recall of health messages in the telephone sample. Health researchers should treat comparisons between different survey modes with caution, and should be aware that campaign evaluations using telephoner surveys and household surveys may yield substantially different results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'Face-to-face household interviews versus telephone interviews for health surveys'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this