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Prev Med. 1998 Jul-Aug;27(4):562-71.

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

Author information

1
Project GRAD, San Diego State University, California 92120, USA.

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.

PMID:
9672950
DOI:
10.1006/pmed.1998.0327
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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