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Reviews of "Did People Really Drink Bleach to Prevent COVID-19? A Tale of Problematic Respondents and a Guide for Measuring Rare Events in Survey Data"

Reviewers: T Johnson (University of Illinois) | 📘📘📘📘📘

Published onApr 14, 2022
Reviews of "Did People Really Drink Bleach to Prevent COVID-19? A Tale of Problematic Respondents and a Guide for Measuring Rare Events in Survey Data"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of
Did people really drink bleach to prevent COVID-19? A tale of problematic respondents and a guide for measuring rare events in survey data
Description

AbstractSociety is becoming increasingly dependent on survey research. However, surveys can be impacted by participants who are non-attentive, respond randomly to survey questions, and misrepresent who they are and their true attitudes. The impact that such respondents can have on public health research has rarely been systematically examined. In this study we examine whether Americans began to engage in dangerous cleaning practices to avoid Covid-19 infection. Prior findings reported by the CDC have suggested that people began to engage in highly dangerous cleaning practices during the Covid-19 pandemic, including ingesting household cleansers such as bleach. In a series of studies totaling close to 1400 respondents, we show that 80-90% of reports of household cleanser ingestion are made by problematic respondents. These respondents report impossible claims such as ‘recently having had a fatal heart attack’ and ‘eating concrete for its iron content’ at a similar rate to ingesting household cleaners. Additionally, respondents’ frequent misreading or misinterpreting the intent of questions accounted for the rest of such claims. Once inattentive, mischievous, and careless respondents are taken out of the analytic sample we find no evidence that people ingest cleansers to prevent Covid-19 infection. The relationship between dangerous cleaning practices and health outcomes also becomes non-significant once problematic respondents are taken out of the analytic sample. These results show that reported ingestion of household cleaners and other similar dangerous practices are an artifact of problematic respondent bias. The implications of these findings for public health and medical survey research, as well as best practices for avoiding problematic respondents in surveys are discussed.

To read the original manuscript, click the link above.

Reviewer 1 (Timothy J…) | 📘📘📘📘📘

RR:C19 Strength of Evidence Scale Key

📕 ◻️◻️◻️◻️ = Misleading

📙📙 ◻️◻️◻️ = Not Informative

📒📒📒 ◻️◻️ = Potentially Informative

📗📗📗📗◻️ = Reliable

📘📘📘📘📘 = Strong

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