Adapting to Changes in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research: Social Media as an Expedited Recruitment Strategy

Angela Barney, Felicia Rodriguez, Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, Reiley Reed, Daniel Tancredi, Claire D. Brindis, Christine Dehlendorf, Kathleen P. Tebb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Teen pregnancy prevention projects funded by the U.S. Office of Adolescent Health were disrupted by the Trump administration in the July 2017 announcement that funding would be terminated. Although funding was later reinstated toward the end of 2018 after a class-action lawsuit, we needed to change our recruitment protocol to mitigate this disruption to the study timeline and staffing. This led to a natural experiment comparing in person and social media recruitment strategies. Methods: The original approach was to recruit girls, aged 15–19 years, who were using intrauterine or subdermal contraception, in person in clinic settings. After the funding disruption, we transitioned to an online recruitment strategy. Costs associated with each approach (in-person and online recruitment) were tracked, and we compared cost of per-person enrollment with each approach. Results: In-person, clinic-based recruitment enrolled 118 participants over 293 days from eight high-volume clinics. Online recruitment enrolled 518 participants over 146 days. Online recruitment resulted in cost savings and a diverse sample representing a larger geographic region. Conclusion: Online recruitment can cut costs and be more efficient than a clinic-based recruitment strategy, but special considerations are warranted when considering social media recruitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Contraception
  • Long-acting reversible contraception
  • Research design
  • Research study recruitment
  • Social media
  • Social networking
  • Teen pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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