Do recruitment patterns of young men who have sex with men (YMSM) recruited through respondentdriven sampling (RDS) violate assumptions?

Gregory Phillips, Lisa M. Kuhns, Rob Garofalo, Brian Mustanski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: To generate unbiased estimates for data collected using respondent-driven sampling (RDS), a number of assumptions need to be met: individuals recruit randomly from their social network and people can accurately report their eligible network size. However, research has shown that these assumptions are often violated. Methods: This study used baseline data from Crew 450, a longitudinal study of young men who have sex with men in Chicago who were recruited via a modified form of RDS and its network substudy, in which a subset of 175 participants reported details on the composition and characteristics of their social network at either 1 or 2 years postbaseline. Results: Nearly two-thirds of participants reported giving coupons to at least one alter (64%), and 56.3% believed their alter(s) used the coupons. Frequency of communication, closeness and type of relationship played a major role in determining coupon distribution. Participants whose alters used coupons were significantly less likely to describe the strength of their relationship as 'not at all close' (OR=0.08; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.36) compared with 'very close' and to communicate weekly (OR=0.20; 95% CI 0.08 to 0.49) or 1-6 times in the past 6 months (OR=0.18; 95% CI 0.06 to 0.59). Conclusions: Contrary to RDS assumptions, we found that relationship characteristics played a significant role when individuals decided to whom they would give coupons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1212
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Volume68
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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