Challenges in implementing of school-based recruitment for human biomonitoring research


Adamos Hadjipanayis, Elisavet Efstathiou, Antonia Hadjieftychiou, Lia Demetriou, Giagkos Lavranos, Andromachi Katsonouri3

Aims: School-based research involves a multi-level process to ensure recruitment of an adequate and reliable sample. The aim of this study is to present the experience of school recruitment of the DEMOCOPHES study in Cyprus. Moreover, methods and strat-egies to improve recruitment rates are described.Methods: The target population of the DEMOCOPHES study were children aged 6–11 years old and their mothers. Cyprus was required to recruit 60 children and their mothers. Random selection of the schools was followed. The information material was provided to the teacher of the selected classes who subsequently distributed it to the children. Personal follow-up contact via telephone call was made with the parents living in rural areas only.Results: Twenty-one percent eligibility and consent rate for participation were reached. In schools where parents were followed-up by telephone calls, the response rate was significantly higher compared to those not followed-up by reminders (58% vs 42%, p < 0.05).Conclusion: Despite the limitations of applicability and representativity, school-based recruitment has been shown to be a feasible and reliable strategy. It is an attractive approach to enrolling young populations into epidemiological studies. Follow-up remind-ers via telephone calls significantly increased the response rate.