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Transl Behav Med. 2011 Sep;1(3):394-9. doi: 10.1007/s13142-011-0059-6.

Proactive recruitment predicts participant retention to end of treatment in a secondhand smoke reduction trial with low-income maternal smokers.

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  • 1Health Behavior Research Clinic, Temple University Department of Public Health, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Ritter Annex, Room 929, Philadelphia, PA 19122 USA.


Improving smoking intervention trial retention in underserved populations remains a public health priority. Low retention rates undermine clinical advancements that could reduce health disparities. To examine the effects of recruitment strategies on participant retention among 279 low-income, maternal smokers who initiated treatment in a 16-week behavioral counseling trial to reduce child secondhand smoke exposure (SHSe). Participants were recruited using either reactive strategies or methods that included proactive strategies. Logistic regression analysis was used to test associations among retention and recruitment method in the context of other psychosocial and sociodemographic factors known to relate to retention. Backwards stepwise procedures determined the most parsimonious solution. Ninety-four percent of participants recruited with proactive + reactive methods were retained through end of treatment compared to 74.7% of reactive-recruited participants. Retention likelihood was five times greater if participants were recruited with proactive + reactive strategies rather than reactive recruitment alone (odds ration [OR] = 5.36; confidence interval [CI], 2.31-12.45). Greater knowledge of SHS consequences (OR = 1.58; CI, 1.07-2.34) was another significant factor retained in the final LR model. Proactive recruitment may improve retention among underserved smokers in behavioral intervention trials. Identifying factors influencing retention may improve the success of recruitment strategies in future trials, in turn, enhancing the impact of smoking interventions.


Recruitment; Retention; Secondhand smoke; Underserved

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