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Ann Behav Med. 1997 Fall;19(4):378-84.

Active vs. passive methods of recruiting ethnic minority women to a health promotion program.

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San Diego State University/University of California 92120, USA.


Ethnic minority women have been underrepresented in health promotion research. There is a need to develop effective methods of recruiting ethnic minority women to health promotion programs and research studies. This article evaluates several methods for recruiting ethnic minority women to a study of a telephone and mail intervention encouraging participation in a home-based walking program. One hundred twenty-six sedentary ethnic minority women between the ages of 25 and 55 were recruited using two types of approaches. Number of participants screened, number enrolled, and recruitment efficiency (ratio of number recruited/number screened) were assessed. "Active" recruitment, contacting targeted individuals in person, by phone, or by mail, yielded 236 screened and 29 recruited with a recruitment efficiency of 11%. "Passive" recruitment, informing the community through public notices and waiting for volunteers to call, yielded 151 screened and 97 recruited with a recruitment efficiency of 64%. Those recruited by active or passive methods did not differ by demographic characteristics, baseline psychosocial variables, or dropout rates. Passive recruits walked significantly more at five-month follow-up than active recruits. Passive recruitment may be more economical at the cost of potentially biased samples.

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