A comparison of methods of recruitment to a health promotion program for university seniors.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:Participant recruitment is an understudied part of health research. It can be a limiting factor and can affect the external validity of a study. This study compares two recruitment methods, active and passive, used to recruit university seniors into a health promotion study. METHODS:During active recruitment, 3,787 seniors were telephoned and asked to participate. During passive recruitment, 5,644 seniors were mailed literature and asked to respond if interested. RESULTS:During active recruitment, 1,680 h were spent on the phone, 341 participants were measured, and 161 entered the study, at a cost of $79 per participant. During passive recruitment, 970 h were spent on the phone, 238 participants were measured, and 178 entered the study, at a cost of $45 per participant. The active method had a higher recruitment rate (9% vs 4%) and attrition rate (53% vs 25%) than the passive method. CONCLUSIONS:In conclusion, neither recruitment method was ideal. Those recruited with the passive method reported more physical activity and had lower blood pressures, suggesting a self-selection bias. Active recruitment produced a more representative sample and a higher recruitment rate. Passive recruitment was less expensive and led to a lower attrition rate. Conclusions are limited because these are uncontrolled comparisons, not a controlled study.

journal_name

Prev Med

journal_title

Preventive medicine

authors

Sarkin JA,Marshall SJ,Larson KA,Calfas KJ,Sallis JF

doi

10.1006/pmed.1998.0327

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1998-07-01 00:00:00

pages

562-71

issue

4

eissn

0091-7435

issn

1096-0260

pii

S0091-7435(98)90327-9

journal_volume

27

pub_type

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