Recruitment and Retention in Studying Childhood Obesity in Saudi Arabia
Hammad, Sama Samer
Berry, Diane C.
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Session presented on Monday, July 25, 2016: Title: Recruitment and retention in studying childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to examine recruitment and retention issues encountered during a mixed methods study on childhood feeding and growth in Saudi Arabia. The study is to focus on Saudi mothers' perspective on childhood obesity. The presentation addresses culturally-based recruiting challenges and recommends strategies for conducting community-based research in Saudi Arabia. Recruitment of mother's from the school system and/or the community has not been well documented in the Saudi literature. Methods: Dissemination information about the study: - The initial plan was to disseminate flyers to mothers through the school system. Out of the 600 flyers distributed in schools only 6 mothers responded and expressed interest in the study. - The second plan was to distribute flyers with the local newspaper, but due to security reasons currently in Saudi Arabia this plan was modified to word of mouth. This resulted in recruiting 2 mothers. Accessing Participants - The initial plan was to meet mothers at the preschools when dropping off and picking up their children in the morning and afternoon this method resulted in a low recruitment because mothers were rarely bringing children to school. - Therefore, principles of schools proposed meeting mothers through presenting a health awareness lecture in the school. This resulted in having more mothers attending and participating. Moreover, other school supervisors proposed adding the PI in WhatsApp group messaging mobile application. Results: The results and lessons learned presented include examples of modified methods in recruitment that increased mother's participation in this study. Active engagement was needed to bring unique strategies suitable for each school, whereas passive strategies resulted in low recruitment. Strategies that facilitated recruitment included cooperation from the school system, parental involvement (via adding the PI to WhatsApp group messaging for direct access parents), scheduling the health awareness lecture along with school events (such as, parent meeting, activity day etc). For example, one school purposed adding the PI in a group messaging mobile application, WhatsApp. The PI was able to introduce the study aims and recruited 13 mothers through WhatsApp. Nurse researchers are in a unique position to provide health lectures and to talk about their research with the local community to enhance recruitment. When the PI was able to schedule the health lecture on the same day of parent's meeting that resulted in the highest attendees and participants. Where, one school had 70 attendees and 35 mothers joined the study. When the health lecture was on a regular school day, less attendee were present (n=4) but many others submitted the consent forms and joined the study (n=30). This high number maybe due to school teachers distributing the flyers through their WhatsApp school groups so that mother's learned ahead of time about the study. Conclusion: In conclusion, the revised strategies used for this study found to be successful evidenced by recruiting 142 mothers and their preschool-age children and are ready for analysis. Creative problem-solving, persistence and engagement in the local community facilitated the recruitment procedure in Saudi Arabia. The PI found that understanding the target population was key to successful recruitment.