Recruitment of older adults: Success may be in the details

Judith C. McHenry, Kathleen C. Insel, Gilles O. Einstein, Amy N. Vidrine, Kari M. Koerner, Daniel G. Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Describe recruitment strategies used in a randomized clinical trial of a behavioral prospective memory intervention to improve medication adherence for older adults taking antihypertensive medication. Results: Recruitment strategies represent 4 themes: accessing an appropriate population, communication and trust-building, providing comfort and security, and expressing gratitude. Recruitment activities resulted in 276 participants with a mean age of 76.32 years, and study enrollment included 207 women, 69 men, and 54 persons representing ethnic minorities. Recruitment success was linked to cultivating relationships with community-based organizations, face-to-face contact with potential study participants, and providing service (e.g., blood pressure checks) as an access point to eligible participants. Seventy-two percent of potential participants who completed a follow-up call and met eligibility criteria were enrolled in the study. The attrition rate was 14.34%. Implications: The projected increase in the number of older adults intensifies the need to study interventions that improve health outcomes. The challenge is to recruit sufficient numbers of participants who are also representative of older adults to test these interventions. Failing to recruit a sufficient and representative sample can compromise statistical power and the generalizability of study findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-853
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Communication
  • Community-based organizations
  • Face to face
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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