PRP152: Recruitment and Retention of Pregnant Women in Prospective Longitudinal Studies: A Scoping Review and Content Analysis

Ellen Goldstein, PhD


Background: Factors that promote versus hinder engagement, and ways to overcome barriers, are often similar in research and clinical care. We aim to make specific recommendations based on empirical and anecdotal (i.e., pragmatic) evidence that researchers can use to recruit and enroll underserved, hard-to-reach, and substance using populations of pregnant women in prospective longitudinal studies. Methods: We searched peer-reviewed publications published in English (1997-2020) in 3 databases. Concurrently, a Qualtrics survey was administered to researchers and health care professionals to share their experience supporting engagement of pregnant women (especially those from underserved or drug using groups) and their children/families in research or clinical care. Content analysis was used to identify emerging themes in categories of recruitment methods, participant incentives, recruitment and retention facilitators and barriers, and lessons learned. The team members identified and coded relevant units of text from the extracted data and survey using an a priori framework that was developed through team discussions upon reviewing the preliminary results. Intercoder reliability was established by calculating the percentage of agreement between coders. Next steps are to chart the data incorporating the numerical summary and qualitative thematic analysis. Results: A literature search resulted in 656 articles from PubMed (n=123), Scopus (n=485), and CINAHL (n=48) databases. Of the studies that met inclusion criteria, recruitment practices were described more frequently than retention strategies. Survey respondents (n=70) were comprised of researchers (95%) of whom 40% are working with pregnant women using drugs and health care professionals (58%) of whom 46% are working with pregnant women using drugs. Approximately, 33% were self-identified as a person with lived experience (e.g., personal or close family member) of addiction recovery. We plan to collate, summarize, and report/compare results from the literature and survey. Conclusion: In order to better understand how to promote health, well-being and resilience in children, we plan to develop recommendations for how to engage pregnant women, especially those using drugs, and their children in research. This blueprint will guide the design of a future birth cohort study, which plans to enroll up to 10,000 children across the US, and follow them, along with their families, from birth until 10 years of age.

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