Retention strategies and predictors of attrition in an urban pediatric asthma study.

Statistical and Clinical Coordinating Center - Rho Federal Systems Division, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
Clinical Trials (Impact Factor: 2.2). 08/2010; 7(4):400-10. DOI: 10.1177/1740774510373798
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) study is a multicenter prospective birth cohort study designed to examine factors related to the development of childhood asthma and allergies in an inner-city population. The retention of these participants has been challenging due to high mobility, inconsistent phone service, custody issues, and stressful life situations.
In this article, we describe the specific retention challenges we encountered during the first 2 years of follow-up in URECA and the strategies we utilized to address them. We also examine how selected maternal characteristics and other factors are related to retention and missed study visits.
Strategies implemented to engage participants included: collecting updated and alternative contact information, after-hours phone calls to participants, culturally competent staff, flexible study event scheduling, clinic visit transportation, quarterly newsletters, retention events, drop-in home visits, and cell phone reimbursements. An internally developed web-based data management system enabled close monitoring by site teams and the coordinating center. The rate of deactivations was calculated using survival analysis. Characteristics of active and deactivated participants were compared using the chi-squared test with a Cochran-Mantel - Haenszel adjustment for study site. The proportion of missed visits of the total expected in the first 2 years was calculated and compared by family characteristics using an ANOVA model or a trend test controlling for study site. All analyses were performed using SAS version 9.1 (Cary, NC).
The 2-year retention rate was 89%. Participation in the first study event predicted subsequent engagement in study activities. Mothers who did not complete the first visit were more likely to miss future events (46.1% vs. 8.9%, p<0.0001) and to be deactivated (38.5% vs. 4.5%, p<0.0001). Mothers under 18 years of age were more likely to leave the study compared to older mothers (22.7% vs. 10.1%, p = 0.02). Also, mothers who were married missed fewer events than those not married (8.8% vs. 15.6%, p = 0.01). In addition, deactivations were more common when the child had entered daycare by 3 months of age (10.9% vs. 3.6%, p = 0.05).
The URECA population is predominantly minority, thus our findings might not be generalizable to other populations. Furthermore, we may not be able to observe the effects that might exist in a more diverse population. For example, 86% of the mothers are unmarried, making it difficult to reliably examine the effect of marital status.
In research, successfully engaging and retaining participants is essential for achieving the study objectives. Identifying factors related to missed visits and deactivations are the initial step in recognizing the potential at-risk participants and can enable the design of targeted strategies to retain participants.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To identify factors associated with attrition in a longitudinal study of cardiovascular prevention. METHODS: Demographic, clinical, and psychosocial variables potentially associated with attrition were investigated in 1841 subjects enrolled in the southwestern Pennsylvania Heart Strategies Concentrating on Risk Evaluation study. Attrition was defined as study withdrawal, loss to follow-up, or missing 50% or more of study visits. RESULTS: Over 4 years of follow-up, 291 subjects (15.8%) met criteria for attrition. In multivariable regression models, factors that were independently associated with attrition were black race (odds ratio [OR], 2.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.55-3.16; P < .001), younger age (OR per 5-year increment, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.79-0.99; P < .05), male gender (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.27-2.54; P < .05), no health insurance (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.20-3.47; P < .05), obesity (OR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.07-3.02; P < .05), CES-D depression score 16 or higher (OR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.29-3.19; P < .05), and higher ongoing life events questionnaire score (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.04-1.13; P < .001). Having a spouse/partner participating in the study was associated with lower odds of attrition (OR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.37-0.97; P < .05). A synergistic interaction was identified between black race and depression. CONCLUSIONS: Attrition over 4 years was influenced by sociodemographic, clinical, and psychological factors that can be readily identified at study entry. Recruitment and retention strategies targeting these factors may improve participant follow-up in longitudinal cardiovascular prevention studies.
    Annals of epidemiology 03/2013; · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Young people with complex health needs have impairments that can limit their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. As well as coping with other developmental transitions, these young people must negotiate the transfer of their clinical care from child to adult services. The process of transition may not be smooth and both health and social outcomes may suffer.Increasingly, policy-makers have recognised the need to ensure a smoother transition between children's and adult services, with processes that are holistic, individualised, and person-centred; however, there is little outcome data to support proposed models of care. This study aims to identify the features of transitional care that are potentially effective and efficient for young people with complex health needs making their transition.Methods/designLongitudinal cohort study. 450 young people aged 14 years to 18 years 11 months (with autism spectrum disorder and an additional mental health problem, cerebral palsy or diabetes) will be followed through their transition from child to adult services and will contribute data at baseline, 12, 24 and 36 months. We will collect data on: health and wellbeing outcomes (participation, quality of life, satisfaction with services, generic health status (EQ-5D-Y) and condition specific measure of disease control or management); exposure to proposed beneficial features of services (such as having a key worker, appropriate involvement of parents); socio-economic characteristics of the sample; use of condition-related health and personal social services; preferences for the characteristics of transitional care.We will us regression techniques to explore how outcomes vary by exposure to service features and by characteristics of the young people. These data will populate a decision-analytic model comparing the costs and benefits of potential alternative ways of organising transition services.In order to better understand mechanisms and aid interpretation, we will undertake qualitative work with 15 young people, including interviews, non-participant observation and diary collection. This study will evaluate the effect of service components of transitional care, rather than evaluation of specific models that may be unsustainable or not generalisable. It has been developed in response to numerous national and international calls for such evaluation.
    BMC Public Health 07/2013; 13(1):675. · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Successful strategies for recruitment and retention (R & R) in pediatric trials are needed. The purpose of our study was to analyze the effectiveness of R&R in a trial for children with hepatitis C. Recruitment strategies were (1) Initial (months 0–12) and (2) extra effort (months 13–18). Initial strategies enrolled 70/114 (61%) of patients. Extra effort strategies included: (1) radio broadcasts, (2) contact with adult hepatologists, (3) dissemination of study material and (4) modification of the exclusion criteria. The overall retention rate was 84% at 2 years. Lessons learned will be valuable in designing future pediatric trials.
    Journal of pediatric nursing 01/2013; 28(3):243–248. · 0.92 Impact Factor


Available from