alexa Why They Stay: Understanding Research Participant Reten
ISSN: 2167-7182

Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research
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Research Article

Why They Stay: Understanding Research Participant Retention in Studies of Aging, Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

Judith Neugroschl1, Mary Sano1,2, Xiaodong Luo1 and Margaret Sewell1*
1Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
2James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY, USA
Corresponding Author : Margaret Sewell
Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
Department of Psychiatry
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY, USA
Tel: 212-241-8329
Fax: 212-996-0987
E-mail: [email protected]
Received June 23, 2014; Accepted August 13, 2014; Published August 15, 2014
Citation: Neugroschl J, Sano M, Luo X, Sewell M (2014) Why They Stay: Understanding Research Participant Retention in Studies of Aging, Cognitive Impairment and Dementia. J Gerontol Geriat Res 3:170. doi:10.4172/2167-7182.1000170
Copyright: © 2014 Neugroschl J, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: Retaining participants in longitudinal research in aging and Alzheimer’s disease remains a significant challenge. “Study partners” are often required to insure participation and accuracy of information because cognitive impairment may interfere with accurate reporting. The purpose of the present report was to identify attitudes and reasons for continued participation in observational research.

Methods: 53 individuals (33 participants and 20 study partners) who were participating in the longitudinal cohort at the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center were available for this survey. They were asked a single open-ended question about why they continued in our study. Seven categories of answers (e.g., Altruism, Value relationship with staff, and Concern about health) were identified and frequency of endorsement was summarized for participants and study partners separately.

Results: There were 82 responses from the 53 individuals. Forty five percent of the participants and 55% of the study partners identified altruism as one reason they participate in research over time, and 75% of study partners and 30% of participants mentioned valuing the relationship with staff as a reason they stayed in research.

Conclusions: This data suggests that retention efforts should be directed toward fostering strong relationships between research staff and study participants and reinforcing the opportunity to contribute to others, which fosters a sense of altruism.


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