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J Aging Health. 2004 Nov;16(5 Suppl):137S-56S.

Recruitment and retention strategies for longitudinal African American caregiving research: the Family Caregiving Project.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.



This article provides a detailed discussion, guided by a culturally competent approach, on recruitment and retention strategies used to study caregiving to older dependent elders in African American families.


The study (lasting from 1995 through 2000) included collecting three waves of data, 9 months apart, among 202 caregiving units (containing a maximum of three caregivers per unit).


Four key strategies were identified as useful in recruiting and retaining the sample: (a) assigning the same interviewers to communicate with and interview study participants for each wave of data collection, (b) ensuring that all interviewers are knowledgeable of possible family dynamics and social issues within the African American community (e.g., access to health care, income and education issues, and discrimination), (c) providing a mechanism by way of a toll-free number for all participants to contact the project staff at the participant's convenience, and (d) allowing flexibility in scheduling and rescheduling interviews at the participant's convenience.


Researchers need to acquire knowledge and develop skills that will foster culturally competent approaches when studying diverse cultural groups, which involves incorporating the beliefs, values, and attitudes of a cultural group in every phase of the research project, from conceptualization to interpretation of findings. Additionally, a genuine interest in, knowledge of, and respect for the population are necessary to help improve participant involvement in longitudinal research among African American caregivers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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