Predictors of Retention in an Online Follow-up Study of Men Who Have Sex With Men
ABSTRACT In the past 10 years, the Internet has emerged as a venue for men who have sex with men (MSM) to meet sex partners. Because online sex seeking has increased among MSM, Internet-based human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention interventions are of interest. However, few online studies to date have demonstrated an ability to retain study participants, specifically MSM of color, in longitudinal online studies.
The current analysis examines data from a 3-month online prospective study of MSM to determine the association of race and incentive level with two retention outcomes: (1) agreeing to participate in a follow-up survey and providing an email address and (2) linking into the follow-up survey at the follow-up time point.
Internet-using MSM were recruited through banner advertisements on MySpace.com. White, black, and Hispanic participants from 18 to 35 years of age were randomized to an offer of enrollment in an online follow-up survey at four levels of incentive (US $0, US $5, US $10, and US $20). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds of the two outcome measures of interest controlling for additional independent factors of interest.
Of eligible participants, 92% (2405/2607) agreed to participate in the follow-up survey and provided an email address. Hispanic men had decreased odds (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47-0.92) of agreeing to participate in the follow-up survey compared with white men. Men reporting unprotected anal intercourse with a male sex partner in the past 12 months had increased odds of agreeing to participate in the follow-up survey (adjusted OR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.05-1.93). Of the participants who provided an email address, 22% (539/2405) linked into the follow-up survey at the 3-month follow-up time point. The odds of linking into the follow-up survey for black men were approximately half the odds for white men (adjusted OR = 0.47, 95% CI 0.35-0.63). Participants who were offered an incentive had increased odds of linking into the follow-up survey (adjusted OR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.02-1.62). Email addresses provided by participants that were used for online financial management and email accounts that were checked daily were associated with increased odds of linking into the follow-up survey (adjusted OR = 1.97, 95% CI 1.54-2.52; adjusted OR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.22-1.87, respectively).
This analysis identified factors that predicted retention in an online, prospective study of MSM. Hispanic and black study participants were less likely to be retained in the study compared with white study participants. Because these men bear the greatest burden of HIV incidence among MSM in the United States, it is critical that new research methods be developed to increase retention of these groups in online research studies.
SourceAvailable from: Paula M Frew[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Recruiting valid samples of men who have sex with men (MSM) is a key component of the US human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) surveillance and of research studies seeking to improve HIV prevention for MSM. Social media, such as Facebook, may present an opportunity to reach broad samples of MSM, but the extent to which those samples are comparable with men recruited from venue-based, time-space sampling (VBTS) is unknown.01/2014; 3(3):e37. DOI:10.2196/resprot.3342
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ABSTRACT: Social networking sites (SNSs) have the potential to increase the reach and efficiency of essential public health services, such as surveillance, research, and communication. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic literature review to identify the use of SNSs for public health research and practice and to identify existing knowledge gaps. We performed a systematic literature review of articles related to public health and SNSs using PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL to search for peer-reviewed publications describing the use of SNSs for public health research and practice. We also conducted manual searches of relevant publications. Each publication was independently reviewed by 2 researchers for inclusion and extracted relevant study data. A total of 73 articles met our inclusion criteria. Most articles (n=50) were published in the final 2 years covered by our search. In all, 58 articles were in the domain of public health research and 15 were in public health practice. Only 1 study was conducted in a low-income country. Most articles (63/73, 86%) described observational studies involving users or usages of SNSs; only 5 studies involved randomized controlled trials. A large proportion (43/73, 59%) of the identified studies included populations considered hard to reach, such as young individuals, adolescents, and individuals at risk of sexually transmitted diseases or alcohol and substance abuse. Few articles (2/73, 3%) described using the multidirectional communication potential of SNSs to engage study populations. The number of publications about public health uses for SNSs has been steadily increasing in the past 5 years. With few exceptions, the literature largely consists of observational studies describing users and usages of SNSs regarding topics of public health interest. More studies that fully exploit the communication tools embedded in SNSs and study their potential to produce significant effects in the overall population's health are needed.Journal of Medical Internet Research 01/2014; 16(3):e79. DOI:10.2196/jmir.2679 · 4.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There are many challenges in recruiting and engaging participants when conducting research, especially with HIV-positive individuals. Some of these challenges include geographical barriers, insufficient time and financial resources, and perceived HIV-related stigma. This paper describes the methodology of a recruitment approach that capitalized on existing online social media venues and other Internet resources in an attempt to overcome some of these barriers to research recruitment and retention. From May through August 2013, a campaign approach using a combination of online social media, non-financial incentives, and Web-based survey software was implemented to advertise, recruit, and retain participants, and collect data for a survey study with a limited budget. Approximately US $5,000 was spent with a research staff designated at 20% of full-time effort, yielding 2034 survey clicks, 1404 of which met the inclusion criteria and initiated the survey, for an average cost of US $3.56 per survey initiation. A total of 1221 individuals completed the survey, yielding 86.97% retention. These data indicate that online recruitment is a feasible and efficient tool that can be further enhanced by sophisticated online data collection software and the addition of non-financial incentives.Journal of Medical Internet Research 05/2014; 16(5):e117. DOI:10.2196/jmir.3229 · 4.67 Impact Factor