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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Dec;16(12):2605-14.

Strategies and cost of recruitment of middle-aged and older unmarried women in a cancer screening study.

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Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University Medical School and Program in Public Health, Box G-S121, 6th Floor, Providence, RI 02903, USA.



We compared strategies and costs associated with recruiting unmarried middle-aged and older women who partner with women (WPW) and women who partner with men (WPM) into an observational study about experiences with cancer screening.


We used targeted and respondent-driven sampling methods to recruit potential participants. Comparable recruitment strategies were used for WPW and WPM.


During 25 months (June 1, 2003, through June 30, 2005), 773 women were screened for study eligibility; 630 were enrolled (213 WPW, 417 WPM). Average staff time spent for recruitment was 100 min per participant. There were no differences by partner gender in average recruitment time (WPW, 90 min; WPM, 100 min). Print media was the most efficient recruitment mode (time per participant: 10 min for WPW, 15 min for WPM). Recruitment costs differed by partner gender ($140 for WPW, $110 for WPM). Costs associated with print media were $10 per WPW and $20 per WPM. Recruitment through community events had higher costs ($490 per WPW, $275 per WPM) but yielded more women with less education and lower incomes, who identified as a racial or ethnic minority, and self-reported a disability. Compared with WPM, WPW had more education and higher incomes, but were less likely to identify as a racial minority and self-report a disability.


There was a trade-off between cost and sample diversity for the different recruitment methods. The per-person costs were lowest for print media, but recruitment through community events ensured a more diverse representation of unmarried heterosexual and sexual minority women.

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