Send to

Choose Destination
J Community Psychol. 2015 Jun 1;43(5):560-575.

Multi-source recruitment strategies for advancing addiction recovery research beyond treated samples.

Author information

Alcohol Research Group, 6475 Christie Avenue, Suite 400, Emeryville, CA 94608-1010.
Center for the Study of Addictions and Recovery, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., 71 West 23rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10010.
Alcohol Research Group, 6475 Christie Avenue, Suite 400, Emeryville, CA 94608-1010 ; Division of Community Health and Human Development, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.



The lack of established sampling frames makes reaching individuals in recovery from substance problems difficult. Although general population studies are most generalizable, the low prevalence of individuals in recovery makes this strategy costly and inefficient. Though more efficient, treatment samples are biased.


To describe multi-source recruitment for capturing participants from heterogeneous pathways to recovery; assess which sources produced the most respondents within subgroups; and compare treatment and non-treatment samples to address generalizability.


Family/friends, Craigslist, social media and non-12-step groups produced the most respondents from hard-to-reach groups, such as racial minorities and treatment-naïve individuals. Recovery organizations yielded twice as many African-Americans and more rural dwellers, while social media yielded twice as many young people than other sources. Treatment samples had proportionally fewer females and older individuals compared to non-treated samples.


Future research on recovery should utilize previously neglected recruiting strategies to maximize the representativeness of samples.


Recruiting; methods; substance use; survey; treatment

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center