Reaching and recruiting Turkish migrants for a clinical trial through Facebook: A process evaluation

B. Unlu, P. Cuijpers, E. van t Hof, H. Riper

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnic minorities are underrepresented in mental health research, especially in randomized controlled trials. Recruiting ethnic minorities is challenging and there is a need to develop effective recruitment strategies. This study used data from a randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of an online guided self-help intervention for Turkish migrants with depressive symptoms. The recruitment process comprised six strategies in Dutch and Turkish: 1) a press release; 2) digital mailing; 3) the distribution of research information leaflets; 4) advertisements; 5) the Internet (in general terms); and 6) Facebook (FB). We describe the content and approach of each of the strategies and how effective they were in recruiting participants for our study. FB is evaluated in a step-by-step description of the recruitment strategy, together with its results in terms of effectiveness, specifically regarding data of FB Friends and messages received by FB Friends through FB.Results showed that a total of 287 applied for the trial. The majority of applicants were recruited through FB (75.6%, n = 224), of whom 74 (33%, n = 224) were included in the trial. Traditional recruitment strategies were far less successful, yielding only 16.4% (n = 47) of the total of 287 applicants, of whom only 3 (3.1%) were included in the trial. Traditional recruitment strategies, such as research information leaflets and advertisements in newspapers, appear ineffective in recruiting ethnic minority groups for research purposes. The use of FB proved to be a more successful method. Future research should examine the factors that account for the potential effectiveness of FB as a recruitment method for hard-to-reach populations. © 2014 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-83
JournalInternet Interventions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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