238671 Innovative recruitment using online networks: Lessons learned from an online study of alcohol and other drug use (AOD) using a web-based Respondent Driven Sampling (WebRDS) strategy

Monday, October 31, 2011

José Arturo Bauermeister, MPH, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Michelle Johns, MPH , Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, ANn Arbor, MI
Erik Volz, PhD , Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Trek Glowacki, MLS , Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Background: The Internet is a promising prevention and research modality for young adults (YA). Researchers have sought out strategies to maximize YA's participation in AOD-related web-surveys. We used an adapted web-version of Respondent-Driven Sampling (webRDS) to recruit a sample of YA (ages 18 to 24) in the United States (N=3,500) by incentivizing them to refer peers through their online networks. Substantively, we were interested in examining whether a webRDS strategy would help us achieve AOD prevalence estimates comparable to national estimates (e.g., Monitoring the Future, National Survey on Drug Use and Health).

Methods: We recruited 19 initial participants (“seeds”) via Facebook to complete a web-survey examining AOD risk correlates. Upon completion of the survey, participants received a survey incentive ($20) and an invitation to earn additional compensation by referring up to 5 additional YAs to the study ($10 per referral). Sequential, incentivized recruitment continued until our target sample size was achieved (3 months). After correcting for WebRDS clustering effects, we contrasted our AOD prevalence estimates (past 30 days) to national estimates.

Results: We observed comparable AOD estimates for alcohol (64%), cigarettes (21%), cocaine (1.5%), ecstasy (1.5%), and non-prescription drugs (5%). Marijuana use (21%) was slightly higher than national estimates (18%).

Conclusions: We discuss the implementation of our WebRDS strategy to recruit YA online, focusing on its unique strengths and challenges, and its potential for web-based substance use research.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the key components of a webRDS recruitment strategy. Assess the strengths and weakness of utilizing a webRDS strategy in recruiting YA in the United States. Compare webRDS-based AOD prevalence estimates to other national estimates.

Keywords: Youth, Drugs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Bauermeister is Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) in the UM School of Public Health. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dr. Bauermeister completed his MPH and PhD in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the HBHE faculty, Dr. Bauermeister was a NIH postdoctoral fellow in the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry and Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at New York University. Dr. Bauermeister oversees the Sexuality & Health Research Lab (SexLab) at the School of Public Health. His primary research interests focus on sexuality and health, and interpersonal prevention and health promotion strategies for high-risk adolescents and young adults. Dr. Bauermeister is Co-Investigator of the Virtual Network Study and the Flint Adolescent Study, two studies examining youth well-being.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.