Optimizing Recruitment of Black Adolescents into Behavioral Research: A Multi-Center Study

Deborah A. Ellis*, Jillian Rhind, April Idalski Carcone, Meredyth Evans, Jill Weissberg-Benchell, Colleen Buggs-Saxton, Claudia Boucher-Berry, Jennifer L. Miller, Mouhammad Al Wazeer, Tina Drossos, Bassem Dekelbab

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Adolescents of color are underrepresented in behavioral health research. Study aims were to quantify the amount and types of outreach effort needed to recruit young Black adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their primary caregiver into a clinical trial evaluating a parenting intervention and to determine if degree of recruitment difficulty was related to demographic, diabetes-related, or family characteristics. Methods Data were drawn from a multi-center clinical trial. Participants (N 155) were recruited from seven pediatric diabetes clinics. Contact log data were used to quantify both number/type of contacts prior to study enrollment as well as length of time to enrollment. Families were coded as having expedited recruitment (ER) or prolonged recruitment (PR). Baseline study data were used to compare ER and PR families on sociodemographic factors, adolescent diabetes management and health status and family characteristics such as household organization and family conflict. Results Mean length of time to recruit was 6.6 months and mean number of recruitment contacts was 10.3. Thirty-nine percent of the sample were characterized as PR. These families required even higher levels of effort (mean of 9.9 months to recruit and 15.4 contacts). There were no significant between-group differences on any baseline variable for ER and PR families, with the exception of family income. Conclusions Researchers need to make persistent efforts in order to successfully enroll adolescents of color and their caregivers into clinical trials. Social determinants of health such as family resources may differentiate families with prolonged recruitment within such samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-620
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • adolescents
  • diabetes
  • race/ethnicity
  • research design and methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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