Recruitment and retention of participants in longitudinal studies after a natural disaster (2021)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherBristol University Press
Climate change and population growth will increase vulnerability to natural and human-made disasters or pandemics. Longitudinal research studies may be adversely impacted by a lack of access to study resources, inability to travel around the urban environment, reluctance of sample members to attend appointments, sample members moving residence and potentially also the destruction of research facilities. One of the key advantages of longitudinal research is the ability to assess associations between exposures and outcomes by limiting the influence of sample selection bias. However, ensuring the validity and reliability of findings in longitudinal research requires the recruitment and retention of respondents who are willing and able to be repeatedly assessed over an extended period of time. This study examined recruitment and retention strategies of 11 longitudinal cohort studies operating during the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake sequence which began in September 2010, including staff perceptions of the major impediments to study operations during/after the earthquakes and respondents’ barriers to participation. Successful strategies to assist recruitment and retention after a natural disaster are discussed. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, longitudinal studies are potentially encountering some of the issues highlighted in this paper including: closure of facilities, restricted movement of research staff and sample members, and reluctance of sample members to attend appointments. It is possible that suggestions in this paper may be implemented so that longitudinal studies can protect the operation of their research programmes.<br /><br /><jats:bold>Key messages</jats:bold><br /><ul><li>Recruitment and retention of longitudinal study participants is challenging following a natural disaster.</li><br /><li>The long-lasting, global effects of the Covid 19 pandemic will increase this problem.</li><br /><li>Longitudinal study researchers should develop protocols to support retention before a disaster occurs.</li><br /><li>Researchers need to be pragmatic and flexible in the design and implementation of their studies.</li></ul>
CitationMcLeod GFH, Horwood LJ, Darlow BA, Boden JM, Martin J, Spittlehouse JK, Carter FA, Jordan J, Porter R, Bell C, Douglas K, Henderson J, Goulden M, McIntosh VVW, Woodward LJ, Rucklidge JJ, Kuijer RG, Allen J, Vierck E (2021). Recruitment and retention of participants in longitudinal studies after a natural disaster. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies.
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Keywordslongitudinal; retention; recruitment; earthquake; natural disaster
ANZSRC Fields of Research11 - Medical and Health Sciences::1117 - Public Health and Health Services::111799 - Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
16 - Studies in Human Society::1603 - Demography::160399 - Demography not elsewhere classified
RightsAll rights reserved unless otherwise stated
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