An randomized controlled trial of Post-it® notes did not increase postal response rates in older depressed participants

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RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of a Post-it® note to increase response rates and shorten response times to a 4-month postal follow-up questionnaire sent to participants taking part in the Collaborative Care in Screen-Positive Elders (CASPER) trials.

METHOD: Our trial was a two-arm randomized controlled trial comparing response rates to questionnaires with a printed Post-it® note (intervention) and without (control), nested in multi centred randomized controlled trials of older people with varying levels of depressive symptoms; the CASPER(+) and CASPER Self Help for those At Risk of Depression (SHARD) trials. A total of 611 participants were eligible and randomized. The primary outcome was response rates, secondary outcomes were time to response and need for a reminder.

RESULTS: Of 297 participants, 266 (89.6%) returned their 4-month questionnaire in the post-it note arm, compared with 282 of 314 participants (89.8%) in the control arm (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.57, 1.65, P = 0.913). There were no statistically significant differences in time to respond or the need to be sent a reminder. Patients with a major depressive episode were more likely to return questionnaires with post-it notes (P of interaction = .019).

CONCLUSION: There was no significant difference in response rates, time to response, or the need for a reminder between the intervention and control at 4-month follow up for older people with depressive symptoms. However, there was a significant interaction between the Post-it® note group and level of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Early online date29 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • attrition
  • depression
  • nested trial
  • older adults
  • questionnaire response rates
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Depression/therapy
  • England
  • Male
  • Reminder Systems
  • Time Factors
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Aged
  • Research Design

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