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Using facebook to recruit young adult veterans: online mental health research.

Pedersen ER, Helmuth ED, Marshall GN, Schell TL, PunKay M, Kurz J - JMIR Res Protoc (2015)

Bottom Line: We describe the successful Facebook recruitment process, including data collection from over 1000 veteran participants in approximately 3 weeks, procedures to verify participation eligibility, and comparison of our sample with nationally available norms.Only half had attended any appointment for a mental health concern at any clinic or hospital.This work expands on the work of other studies that have examined clinical samples of veterans only and suggests Facebook can be an adequate method of obtaining samples of veterans in need of care.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: RAND, Department of Behavioral and Policy Sciences, Santa Monica, CA, United States. ericp@rand.org.

ABSTRACT

Background: Veteran research has primarily been conducted with clinical samples and those already involved in health care systems, but much is to be learned about veterans in the community. Facebook is a novel yet largely unexplored avenue for recruiting veteran participants for epidemiological and clinical studies.

Objective: In this study, we utilized Facebook to recruit a sample of young adult veterans for the first phase of an online alcohol intervention study. We describe the successful Facebook recruitment process, including data collection from over 1000 veteran participants in approximately 3 weeks, procedures to verify participation eligibility, and comparison of our sample with nationally available norms.

Methods: Participants were young adult veterans aged 18-34 recruited through Facebook as part of a large study to document normative drinking behavior among a large community sample of veterans. Facebook ads were targeted toward young veterans to collect information on demographics and military characteristics, health behaviors, mental health, and health care utilization.

Results: We obtained a sample of 1023 verified veteran participants over a period of 24 days for the advertising price of approximately US $7.05 per verified veteran participant. Our recruitment strategy yielded a sample similar to the US population of young adult veterans in most demographic areas except for race/ethnicity and previous branch of service, which when we weighted the sample on race/ethnicity and branch a sample better matched with the population data was obtained. The Facebook sample recruited veterans who were engaged in a variety of risky health behaviors such as binge drinking and marijuana use. One fourth of veterans had never since discharge been to an appointment for physical health care and about half had attended an appointment for service compensation review. Only half had attended any appointment for a mental health concern at any clinic or hospital. Despite more than half screening positive for current probable mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, only about 1 in 3 received mental health care in the past year and only 1 in 50 received such care within the past month.

Conclusions: This work expands on the work of other studies that have examined clinical samples of veterans only and suggests Facebook can be an adequate method of obtaining samples of veterans in need of care.

Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02187887; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02187887 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6YiUKRsXY).

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Examples of Facebook ads.
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figure1: Examples of Facebook ads.

Mentions: The following 3 types of ads were used: (1) direct promotion of the survey website, (2) promotion of posts we made to our Facebook page, and (3) invitations to “like” (publicly endorse) our Facebook page. Example ads are displayed in Figure 1. Direct survey website promotion ads were displayed on sidebar ad panels and in the personalized news feed that is the home page for Facebook users. These ads briefly described the study and allowed an individual to click through to the survey website. All direct promotion ads mentioned incentives for participation. Post-promotion ads were displayed in news feeds only, and included an option to reach our Facebook page, which contained information about our study and a link to the survey website. One of the 5 post-promotion ads discussed the incentive. Invitations to “like” our Facebook page were displayed in news feeds, with a suggestion that the reader might be interested in our page alongside a button to “like” our page directly from the ad. All of these ads also discussed the incentive. Both post promotions and invitations to like our Facebook page were aimed at cultivating ongoing interest and interactions with our study and to encourage social sharing of the survey info with friends. For all 3 sets of ads, Facebook users could “like” the ad, comment on the ad (eg, “This looks like a great study” would appear in the comments section under our ad), or share it with friends (eg, “Hey, check out this survey for veterans” would display on someone’s Facebook wall for their friends to see). All 3 types of ads automatically utilized the social networks inherent to Facebook. For example, when someone liked our ad or our Facebook page, this fact was promoted to that users’ friends in their news feed that “[Your friend] liked [our Facebook page] (or [our ad])”.


Using facebook to recruit young adult veterans: online mental health research.

Pedersen ER, Helmuth ED, Marshall GN, Schell TL, PunKay M, Kurz J - JMIR Res Protoc (2015)

Examples of Facebook ads.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526897&req=5

figure1: Examples of Facebook ads.
Mentions: The following 3 types of ads were used: (1) direct promotion of the survey website, (2) promotion of posts we made to our Facebook page, and (3) invitations to “like” (publicly endorse) our Facebook page. Example ads are displayed in Figure 1. Direct survey website promotion ads were displayed on sidebar ad panels and in the personalized news feed that is the home page for Facebook users. These ads briefly described the study and allowed an individual to click through to the survey website. All direct promotion ads mentioned incentives for participation. Post-promotion ads were displayed in news feeds only, and included an option to reach our Facebook page, which contained information about our study and a link to the survey website. One of the 5 post-promotion ads discussed the incentive. Invitations to “like” our Facebook page were displayed in news feeds, with a suggestion that the reader might be interested in our page alongside a button to “like” our page directly from the ad. All of these ads also discussed the incentive. Both post promotions and invitations to like our Facebook page were aimed at cultivating ongoing interest and interactions with our study and to encourage social sharing of the survey info with friends. For all 3 sets of ads, Facebook users could “like” the ad, comment on the ad (eg, “This looks like a great study” would appear in the comments section under our ad), or share it with friends (eg, “Hey, check out this survey for veterans” would display on someone’s Facebook wall for their friends to see). All 3 types of ads automatically utilized the social networks inherent to Facebook. For example, when someone liked our ad or our Facebook page, this fact was promoted to that users’ friends in their news feed that “[Your friend] liked [our Facebook page] (or [our ad])”.

Bottom Line: We describe the successful Facebook recruitment process, including data collection from over 1000 veteran participants in approximately 3 weeks, procedures to verify participation eligibility, and comparison of our sample with nationally available norms.Only half had attended any appointment for a mental health concern at any clinic or hospital.This work expands on the work of other studies that have examined clinical samples of veterans only and suggests Facebook can be an adequate method of obtaining samples of veterans in need of care.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: RAND, Department of Behavioral and Policy Sciences, Santa Monica, CA, United States. ericp@rand.org.

ABSTRACT

Background: Veteran research has primarily been conducted with clinical samples and those already involved in health care systems, but much is to be learned about veterans in the community. Facebook is a novel yet largely unexplored avenue for recruiting veteran participants for epidemiological and clinical studies.

Objective: In this study, we utilized Facebook to recruit a sample of young adult veterans for the first phase of an online alcohol intervention study. We describe the successful Facebook recruitment process, including data collection from over 1000 veteran participants in approximately 3 weeks, procedures to verify participation eligibility, and comparison of our sample with nationally available norms.

Methods: Participants were young adult veterans aged 18-34 recruited through Facebook as part of a large study to document normative drinking behavior among a large community sample of veterans. Facebook ads were targeted toward young veterans to collect information on demographics and military characteristics, health behaviors, mental health, and health care utilization.

Results: We obtained a sample of 1023 verified veteran participants over a period of 24 days for the advertising price of approximately US $7.05 per verified veteran participant. Our recruitment strategy yielded a sample similar to the US population of young adult veterans in most demographic areas except for race/ethnicity and previous branch of service, which when we weighted the sample on race/ethnicity and branch a sample better matched with the population data was obtained. The Facebook sample recruited veterans who were engaged in a variety of risky health behaviors such as binge drinking and marijuana use. One fourth of veterans had never since discharge been to an appointment for physical health care and about half had attended an appointment for service compensation review. Only half had attended any appointment for a mental health concern at any clinic or hospital. Despite more than half screening positive for current probable mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, only about 1 in 3 received mental health care in the past year and only 1 in 50 received such care within the past month.

Conclusions: This work expands on the work of other studies that have examined clinical samples of veterans only and suggests Facebook can be an adequate method of obtaining samples of veterans in need of care.

Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02187887; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02187887 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6YiUKRsXY).

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus