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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2015, Article ID 824672, 8 pages
Research Article

Overcoming Recruitment Barriers in Urban Older Adults Residing in Congregate Living Facilities

1Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, 300 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
2Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester, 265 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 8 March 2015; Accepted 19 May 2015

Academic Editor: Veit Roessner

Copyright © 2015 Adam Simning et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Participation of minority older adults in mental health research has been limited by mistrust, transportation difficulties, lack of knowledge, and insufficient community partnership. We describe strategies utilized to overcome these recruitment barriers. Methods. Our target population included 553 public housing residents of older adult high-rise buildings in Rochester, NY. We had a two-stage cross-sectional study: Stage 1 was a health survey for all residents and Stage 2 was a psychiatric interview of English-speaking residents aged 60 years and older. Recruitment occurred through mailings, onsite activities, and resident referrals. Results. Stage 1 had 358 participants (64.7% response) and Stage 2 had 190 (61.6% target population response), with higher participation among African Americans. We found some strategies effective for overcoming recruitment barriers. First, we partnered with a community agency and organized onsite educational activities to improve residents’ trust. Second, the study occurred entirely onsite, which facilitated participation of functionally impaired residents. Third, onsite activities allowed the residents to learn about the study and complete surveys in person. Fourth, we provided immediate incentives that resulted in many study referrals. Conclusions. Although recruitment of minority older adults presents unique challenges, a multifaceted community-tailored approach mitigated several recruitment barriers in this mental health study.