Potential of Online Recruitment Among 15-25-Year Olds: Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial

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Background: Recruiting young people for health and intervention studies by traditional methods has become increasingly challenging. The widespread access to the internet may offer new strategies for online recruitment. Objective: This study aims to assess the feasibility of online recruitment for a randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of Mindhelper, an online national youth mental health promotion service. The target group was young Danes aged 15-25 in need of mental health promotion. Methods: Advertisements for recruitment were set up on Facebook and Instagram. Browser history was collected for a subsample of participants. We compared basic characteristics of participants who completed the baseline survey and those who did not, as well as of participants who completed the follow-up survey and those who were lost to follow-up. The significance of these differences was tested with the Pearson chi-square test. Results: A total of 560 Danes aged 15-25 were recruited within 1 month (ie, had completed the baseline survey). Among these participants, 356 (63.6%) were at risk of developing depression or stress. The average advertisement price per participant completing the baseline questionnaire was 31 DKK (approximately €4 [US $4.2]). The follow-up survey was sent to 545 participants, of whom 318 (58.3%) completed the survey. No statistically significant differences were observed in baseline characteristics of participants who completed the follow-up and those who were lost to follow-up in terms of gender (P=.45), age (P=.35), occupation (P=.17), cohabitation (P=.90), mental well-being (P=.26), mental illness (P=.44; impact of the illness, P=.05), or use of the internet when having a hard time (P=.92). Conclusions: We conclude that it is feasible to recruit young Danes online for a large-scale randomized controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of Mindhelper.

TidsskriftJMIR Formative Research
Udgave nummer5
StatusUdgivet - 25. maj 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by TrygFonden (ID:128134).

Publisher Copyright:
© Sofie Have Hoffmann, Anna Paldam Folker, Mark Buskbjerg, Marie Paldam Folker, Andrea Huber Jezek, Durita Lyngsø Svarta, Ida Nielsen Sølvhøj, Lau Thygesen. Originally published in JMIR Formative Research (https://formative.jmir.org), 25.05.2022. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Formative Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://formative.jmir.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.


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