Session Type: Poster Session (Tuesday)
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Young adulthood is a unique life phase that spans 18-35 years, and is characterized by healthcare, educational, vocational and social transitions. Experiences in young adulthood can shape long-term health and socioeconomic outcomes. Yet, young adults with rheumatic conditions are a challenging population to recruit, and as a result are underrepresented in population health research. The objective of this study is to examine and compare recruitment strategies utilized in the construction of a large cohort of young adult participants with rheumatic disease.
Methods: Young adult participants with rheumatic conditions (e.g., juvenile arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis) were recruited as part of a three-year longitudinal study of transitional work experiences in Canada. A multifaceted recruitment strategy was utilized to construct a representative cohort including 1) rheumatology clinics in three provinces; 2) national community-based patient organizations; and 3) a representative panel from a survey research firm. Efforts were taken to recruit participants who varied in terms of disease severity to capture a breadth of experiences. Bivariate analyses (i.e., Chi-Square analysis and analysis of variance) were conducted to examine if participants differed based on sociodemographic (e.g., age, gender and hours worked) and health factors (e.g., pain, fatigue and disease activity) across the three recruitment approaches.
Results: A total of 412 young adult participants (mean age = 29 years ± 4.2) with rheumatic disease were successfully recruited and completed the baseline survey. A majority of participants had rheumatoid arthritis (36%) and juvenile arthritis (20%). Most participants were recruited using the research firm (75%) and community-based organizations (19%). Fewer participants were recruited through clinics (6%). Participants recruited from rheumatology clinics were younger (27 years ± 5.1) when compared to those recruited through community-based organizations (28.5 years ± 4.3) or the research firm (29 years ± 4.0) (p< .01). A greater proportion of participants recruited through community-based organizations were female (84%) compared to participants from rheumatology clinics (58%) or the research firm (42%) (p< .001). Participants recruited through community-based organizations reported less disease severity (e.g., pain, fatigue, disease activity and depression) and indicated more work hours compared to participants recruited from rheumatology clinics or research firm (p< .001).
Conclusion: A multifaceted approach can be effective in recruiting a large cohort of young adults with rheumatic disease. The use of community-based organizations and research firms have the potential to recruit large samples of young adult study participants beyond rheumatology clinics. Participants recruited through different approaches may vary in terms of sociodemographic and health factors and enable researchers to capture a diversity of experiences. The increased inclusion of young adult participants in population health research will offer a better understanding of the impact of rheumatic disease during a critical transitional life phase.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Jetha A, Tucker L, Bowring J, Backman C, Proulx L, Kristman V, Gignac M. Casting a Wide Net: Comparing Strategies for Recruiting 18-35-year-olds with Rheumatic Disease as Study Participants [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/casting-a-wide-net-comparing-strategies-for-recruiting-18-35-year-olds-with-rheumatic-disease-as-study-participants/. Accessed May 12, 2021.
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