DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VOLUNTEERS AND NONVOLUNTEERS IN A HIGH-DEMAND SELF-RECORDING STUDY

 

Psychological Reports, 1998, 83, 199-210. Psychological Reports 1998

 

 

BRADLEY M. WAITE

Central Connecticut State University

 

ROBERT C. CLAFFEY

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

 

MARC HILLBRAND

Connecticut Valley Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine

 

Summary

 

Research combining time- or event-sampling techniques with diary methods in naturalistic settings has become increasingly popular in recent years. Advantages of such procedures include the enhancement of the ecological validity of the research as compared to traditional laboratory studies and the elimination of the bias in retrospective recall of traditional diary studies. However, such research places a relatively high demand on participants' time, effort, and willingness to self-report and self-disclose. To examine whether this demand influences the decision to volunteer, participants in a week-long Experience Sampling Method study were compared with persons who declined to participate. Potential differences between the groups were assessed for personality, adjustment, and demographic variables. Analyses indicated that the volunteers, as compared to the nonvolunteers, were less anxious, less likely to employ pathological defensive styles, and overall were a better-adjusted group. The results may reflect a tendency of more poorly adjusted individuals to avoid volunteering for research which they perceive may cause them to experience greater stress and anxiety.