Dyadic and Individual Dynamics in a Multi-Actor Survey: Understanding the Nonresponse Process of Secondary Respondents

Almut Schumann , German Federal Institute of Population Research (BiB)

Multi-actor surveys offer the unique opportunity to gather insights from the primary respondent and from a so-called secondary respondent, such as a partner or family member. The relation between the persons enables researchers to study processes and interactions within relationships. However, at the same time, this makes multi-actor data difficult to collect. Unlike general survey participation, the participation of secondary respondents is a multistep process. First the primary respondent has to identify the target person and provide consent and contact information to interview the secondary respondent, before the latter can decide to participate. Each of these steps can cause nonresponse, next to aspects related to the processing of the data, reasons might depend on the individual situation of each respondent as well as on negotiations and dynamics taking place within the dyad. Using the first wave of the German family demography panel FReDA, this study tracks the nonresponse process of secondary respondents in a self-administered multi-actor survey in identifying all sources where nonresponse can occur. The aim is to explore to which degree nonresponse at these steps is affected by characteristics on the individual level, such as respondent’s socio-demographic or personal situation, and by characteristics on the dyadic level, such as closeness and commitment between the respondents to see whether selection effects accumulate during the process or whether they differ at the particular steps. On this basis, ways can be found to combat the loss of secondary respondents and thus reduce selectivity in multi-actor data.

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 Presented in Session 28. Flash session New and Critical Perspectives on Data Collection and Measurement