Recruiting African American parents of school-aged children in a physical activity study: Lessons learned

Kashica J. Webber-Ritchey, Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, Lois J. Loescher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe the recruitment strategies and lessons learned when enrolling African American parents/caregivers of school-aged children (ages 6–12 years) in an online survey of physical activity. With physical activity serving as a modifiable behavioral risk factor for several chronic diseases (obesity and cardiovascular diseases), little is understood regarding the influences on African Americans’ physical activity participation to develop culturally appropriate physical activity interventions. Gaining a better understanding of physical activity influences is possible through research, yet recruiting and enrolling African Americans in health research is a challenge. Methods: Over a three-month period, a multidimensional approach (distribution of flyers, community partnerships, network sampling, African American researcher, effective communication, and data collection procedures) was used for study recruitment. Results: We exceeded our recruitment goal of 105 participants. A total of 127 African American parent/caregivers of school-aged children enrolled, which included both females/mothers (n = 87, 69%) and males/fathers (n = 40, 31%). Network sampling was the single most effective recruitment strategy for reaching this population. Lessons learned in this study includes considering participant burden and their comfort with technology, as well as gaining community trust. Discussion: Lessons learned in recruiting African American parents provides a guide for future research. Efforts are needed to further increase the representation of African American males in health research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalChronic Illness
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • African Americans
  • chronic diseases
  • health disparities
  • physical activity
  • recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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