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Cost effectiveness of strategies for recruiting low-income families for behavioral parent training

The goal of this study was to assess cost, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of recruitment strategies used to engage low-income families of young children with disruptive behavior disorder to participate in a Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) program. For this analysis, we used data on labor and non-labor resources associated with 13 recruitment strategies implemented in February 2014 through February 2016. We assessed the effectiveness of each strategy as the number of families that enrolled into the study. Cost-effectiveness of each recruitment strategy was expressed as cost per family enrolled; analysis was conducted in 2016. We calculated the cost of total recruitment effort for 13 strategies during the 2-year period to be $11,496 with an average cost of $885 per recruitment strategy or $255 per enrolled family. Across strategies, total costs ranged from $25 to $2540. “University mass e-mail” and “school flyers” resulted in the most phone screens (34 each); however, only 10% of these families enrolled in the study (three and four families, respectively). “Craigslist” was the most effective strategy with 30 families screened and 11 of them enrolling. Three strategies did not yield any participants. The four strategies with the lowest cost per family enrolled were “Facebook page,” “Craigslist,” “university mass e-mail,” and “organization/agency” (<$90). In conclusion, we found that some recruitment strategies were more successful at engaging low-income families to participate in a BPT program than others. Our results indicate that using a combination of recruitment strategies may be the optimal approach for recruiting low-income families.


Khavjou, O. A., Turner, P., & Jones, D. J. (2018). Cost effectiveness of strategies for recruiting low-income families for behavioral parent training. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(6), 1950-1956. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-017-0997-9, 10.1007/s10826-017-0997-9

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